Friday, July 31, 2009

And Then...

So, off we went to see Jackson Browne.

And then we stopped to eat. And I had THE BEST SHAKE EVER. It was a cookie dough peanut butter shake, and it involved cookie dough ice cream, fudge, peanut butter and chocolate chips and OH MY GOSH. I will probably dream about this shake.

And then we got to the concert place. Where we saw a whole gaggle of friends. So we had fun people to hang out with.

And then we staked out our claim out on the lawn. And our claim was good. And we had a totally clear view of the stage. (Way better than the friends. But we're nice and we shared.)

And then we settled in to wait (2 and a half hours) for the show to start. But we had cookies, so that was fine.

And then there was a monsoon. A Torrential downpour. Um, it rained.

And then EVERYTHING was wet. Everything. Blankets, clothing, skin, hair, underwear, chairs.... Never to be dry again. Why didn't I wear the Crocs? Because I'm stupid. That's why.
And then the sun decided to come back out to play.
And then Mr. Browne decided to come out to play (I'm Alive for the opener).

And then he sang For A Dancer (See! I told you he was thinking of me! But really, just go listen to the song. Right now. It's the one with that amazing line "somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go may lie a reason that you were alive that you'll never know.").

And then my lip started to quiver.

And then the tears started to fall.

And then I was so so so so so happy.

And then he closed with The Load Out / Stay.

And then I knew that Mom was gonna be mad that she didn't come along.

And then we packed up our sopping wet stuff and drove home with smiling faces.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Can Browne Do For You?

So, we are off to see Jackson Browne in just a bit. Mr. Browne and I have a very deep and meaningful relationship, owing to the fact that he once saved my life.


Mom was there. She saw it.

We had just seen Mr. Browne give an incredible solo acoustic performance in South Bend, Indiana (of all improbable places). As we exited the theater, I walked past the car and around the building, straight for the stage door. (The place was tiny. There were only two ways out – main entrance and stage door. I wagered Mr. Browne would be coming out the stage door. There was a really, really big bus parked next to it.) Mom had no choice but to follow, as I had driven (because Mom doesn’t like to drive further than the grocery store if she can help it). My intent was to wait for Mr. Browne to leave the venue, and then…. Okay, I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I hoped something not totally lame would come to me.

It turned out I was not the only one with that idea. Or maybe I just started a trend. Because as I positioned myself, several other women came along and began to do the same. This would not have been such a bad thing (I’m totally not a Jackson Browne hog or anything), but these women who joined us were, um, staggering drunk. And loud. And clumsy. And dressed WAY too young for their age (okay, that was a mean comment to make, but it doesn’t make it any less true – they all had at least a decade or two on me and appeared to have been shopping at Hot Topic). Mom took her leave and waited in the back. I held my ground.

And then Jackson Browne walked out of the theater.

And all of these drunken women came surging forward, apparently intending to go through me. (I do tend to go invisible from time to time.)

But Mr. Browne would have none of it. He saw what was happening. He stepped forward. He reached out his hand. He took my hand in his. He looked me straight in the eye. He smiled. And he pulled me up from the massing throng of drunks.

I swear it happened just that way.

I would have been crushed by inebriated, fashioned-challenged women if Jackson Browne had not intervened.

And what did I do? I smiled back and said “Thank you.” And he nodded, gave my hand (which he still held) a little squeeze, and moved on.

We are forever bonded because of this moment. I am sure he thinks of me often.

And while I don’t imagine that we will meet again this evening (after all, the venue is bigger and in a city and I’m sitting on the lawn and with Hubby and all), I can only hope he will not only play For a Dancer, but, at least in his mind, dedicate it to me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Capture - Friends

So, friends is the You Capture theme this week. What would I do without my friends? Um, mostly likely be some blithering idiot wandering the streets or highly medicated in a high security sanitarium somewhere. These four brilliant, strong, beautiful women have kept me alive during the darkest times and celebrated the best of times. I love them with all my heart.

Work Friend is the only person who reads faster than I do. We've been re-reading various book series this summer. She's on Harry Potter now. I will so miss having her on the other side of my door this year. I could open that door, and with one look, she'd know. And who else so fully understands the concept (and necessity) of Good Lunch?

I don't get to see or talk to Far Away Friend nearly as much as I'd like to. Mostly owing to the fact she lives clear across the country. So this is our main means of communication. And even that doesn't happen as much as it should. ( We're so stinking busy!) I miss her every day.

My dear Coffee Friend. How many times we have closed down Panera? And, truly, the freaks come out only when we are there together. Because we need more to laugh about. I know it's not nice to laugh about others, but we're pretty sure they're "commenting" on us, too (you know, the freaks over in the booth laughing like fools?), so it all works out.

Best Friend. There isn't enough space to write about her. There are only two months of my life where we did not know each other. And that's only because she wasn't born yet. I don't even want to ponder what life would be like without her. Who else is going to call me at 6:30 in the morning to find out who the Smurf with the tattoo was? (It was Hefty.)

You can see everyone else's friends over at Beth's.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Self. Satisfied?

So, I’ve been in this little trough of self-loathing. I’ve been looking through the pictures that Photographer Friend took, trying to figure out which ones to print. There are over 400 pictures. That’s a lot of looking at myself. And I’m not liking what I’m looking at. I mean, the pictures are ascetically beautiful photos. Hubby looks his usual devastatingly handsome self. But why didn’t they cast someone a little better suited for the girl? Because I just keep seeing a large behind. And huge thighs. And very wide hips. And a puffy stomach. And a big nose.

I see everything that’s “wrong” with me. Everything I should be working harder to “fix.” Everything I perceive to be a flaw.

And that’s my biggest flaw of all.

I know all of the logical arguments. Celebrate diversity. Accept yourself for the unique individual you are. It’s the differences that make life wonderful.

But, you know what? That doesn’t happen.

A lot of women I know have a tendency to do this same thing to themselves. We’ve had long, self-depreciating discussions about it.

When I see a picture in a magazine of a famous actress playing with her kids on the beach, looking amazing and beautiful (and normal), and the caption says that she’s “let herself go” what does that say about me?

I worry about how that affects young girls just trying to grow up, when they see and hear not only what women say and/or feel about themselves (I grew up seeing my mom constantly unhappy with how she looked, trying every diet out there. And I have my mom’s shape, so what did that mean for me?), but what society puts up as the standard of beauty.

I swear this really happened…. A woman not much older than me chided her 10 year old daughter (a beautiful, bright, active girl) at a restaurant for not only using an entire pat of butter on her bread, but then having the gall to want another piece. And then, upon finishing her meal (cleaning her plate, if you will), the daughter was told, by her mother, that soon she’d have to take up smoking so she didn’t get fat.

Oh. My. Gosh.

What message are we sending?????

I can remember being told by a (non-parent) relative that “if I didn’t eat so much cheesecake, maybe I could have gone to the prom, too.” How should I have taken that as a high school junior? Who hadn’t been asked to prom? And already had issues with body image?

I have always, all my life, tended to be rounder. I take after my mother’s body type. I’ve always been an active person, just like my dad. I love to cook and to bake and to eat, which I learned from my grandmother. I have my grandfather’s nose. It was God that made me, and therefore, a little piece of grace resides within me.

Shouldn’t those be good things? Shouldn’t I be able to celebrate those things?

I should. I know that.

And it makes me very happy to know that I have these pieces of me that come from people who are so important and special to me.

And I do have those moments of celebration.

Why, then, do I have these periods of time where I can’t look in a mirror because, eww, ick, gross?

I’ve been bigger than I am now. I’ve been smaller than I am now. But I’ve never really been able to like how I look; never really been able to be accepting of myself. I don’t think I’m ugly. I don’t think I’m fat. But if I have to state something good about me? Um. I have long nail beds.

I can read this article and know that this woman desperately needs to lighten up and eat a cupcake, while at the exact same time making myself feel a truckload of guilt because I want to have a muffin while I read my book.

How does that work? And how to I step outside of it?

Is is possible to really, truly accept (dare I say love) myself for who I am right now? Not just for a fleeting moment, but just as a normal state of being? Not pine for who I could be at some magical date in the future, where I'll be perfect? (A date that simply does not, cannot, will not exist.)

Work in progress.

(photo: Gemmer Photography)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome to My Nightmare

So, I went to water the outdoor plants and there was a HUGE SNAKE (HUGE) in the corner where the house and porch meet. It was evil. I know it was. Made more so by the fact that the back of it was UP the corner of the house. Kind of like it had come DOWN from INSIDE the wall. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me that cannot be so. Because if it is, we will have to burn the house down and start over. I will NOT handle it well if a snake can get INSIDE MY HOUSE.) I was going to take a picture to show you what I was talking about, but in the time it took me to get the camera, it was GONE. So that means it is somewhere IN THE YARD. (PLEASE don't let it be INSIDE THE WALL.) And I am now TRAPPED inside the house. What's the point of having a husband if he's not here when you REALLY NEED HIM?

The bushes will sooooo NOT get trimmed today.

PS - Do not comment unless you are going to reassure me that a snake cannot get inside my house. I do not need to know otherwise. Especially when Hubby is not here to go on snake finding detail.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I Learned

So, yesterday I learned some things.

Next year, I can either get up early to go run a race OR I can stay up late to go to a concert. But I can't do both. I am so not a kid anymore.

It is possible to run a very slow 10k race and have fun doing it.

When my main food sources of the day are very cheesy, very greasy pizza, cake, and Hot Sam pretzels, my body will not react kindly. I am so not a kid anymore. Oh, wait. I already said that.

Coldplay is a superfantastic band. Okay, so I knew this already. It was just reiterated to me yesterday.

Brits are wittier than the rest of us. This is just how it is. I don't know why.

Zipper earrings are cool again! Just in front of me was a girl of about 12 who was wearing zipper earrings. They were just like the zipper earrings I had when I was about 12, only hers were a little cooler because they were hot pink. Mine were just plain old gold. (Yes. I have a little bit of hot pink zipper earring envy.)

If you're going to need to call your sister when Coldplay performs Talk, then you should have your phone ready to go. Because if you don't, you'll have to look at her number, then remember it because you'll have to dial it manually with a 1 and the area code, and then her phone won't go to voicemail until something like the 17th ring, and by that time, the song is over.

If you don't manage to call your sister when Coldplay performs Talk, you can call her back during Viva La Vida because that song is superb and it will make her teary. Okay, so it makes lots of people teary. Myself included.

If you're going to see Coldplay, it's best to park here:
White is a color that you can generally see though to some degree. So if you choose to wear a white dress, you should really wear a complete pair of underpants, too. If you wear a thong, everyone will see that you are, in fact, wearing a thong. Unless, of course, your goal is to have people see that you are wearing said thong. In that case, mission accomplished Visible Thong Girl!

Hubby has to take pictures at concerts. I am too busy singing and dancing, and I just can't hold the camera that still.

Billions of paper butterflies falling like rain is an absolutely lovely sight.

Paying tribute to Michael Jackson with an acoustic version of Billie Jean is a supercool thing to do.

Wearing a pony tail for 22 hours will cause a massive headache.

Special effects from the 70s are still cool.

If I were my girl crush, Gwyneth Paltrow, I would be married to Chris Martin and have two kids. Not sure how I feel about that. I would miss a husband who was gone that much. And probably be a bit bitter about having the kids on my own all that time. Even with all the help and nannys and stuff. Could I just get her hair to start with?

Some days are just really, really good days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It Might Be Perfect

So, this is a vegan dark chocolate chip cookie with raw almonds (it makes it sound totally healthy to say it that way) shortly after being baked (and shortly before being eaten), taken as the sun is shining, and the windows are open, and the breeze is blowing through the house, and the ipod is shuffling at a satifying volume (currently on The Bee Gee's More Than a Woman). This is a good day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Capture - Black and White

So, I think the point was to take a picture and use some kind of editing wizardry to make it a black and white photo. But, um, that's not what I did. See what everyone else did at Beth's.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Getaway Fun

So, Hubby and I had a good weekend. We decided to take a little getaway. Not far, but far enough. It wound up being just about perfect.

We did something totally unheard of. We SLEPT IN. Like, did not get up until we just woke up naturally. Neither of us could remember the last time that happened. After that it was just a nice, casual day. Eating good food that I did not have to cook or clean up. Wandering around a city and finding beautiful places like this
smack-dab in the middle of the city. Who knew?

In that same day, we commandeered a computer in the hotel's complementary guest business center to check out the results of our recent session with Photographer Friend. We were both very, very pleased. Hubby wanted some new author photos, and as long as pictures were being taken, Photographer Friend took some of us together, too. She has a gift. That's for sure. So much so that we looked through our photos twice, fully ignoring the dirty looks and exasperated huffs of the pre-teen girls who were very unhappy that we were taking so long on the computer and they could not use it to play games (that Little Brother would totally know all about, but of which I am clueless) and other pre-teen computer stuff (which is what they were doing most every time we'd tried to get a computer for ourselves).

The main reason for choosing our destination was this:
It's a Komodo Dragon. There were two visiting the zoo for the summer and Hubby just HAD TO SEE THEM. He was so taken that he purchased a stuffed toy Komodo Dragon. For himself. I was not as enthralled. These are ginormous lizards that go on murderous reptilian rampages through their home island of Komodo, leaving their prey for dead and then coming back later to eat them. Whether they are fully dead yet or not. They are not nice lizards. Not nice at all.

This guy was more to my liking.

We also spent a day hiking in a stunning park. I got to indulge my love of rocks. (Yes, I love rocks. I'm a dork wad. We've established this already. I love rocks so much I have framed pictures of them in my bathroom and mason jars full of them around the house. I love mason jars, too. But that's beside the point.) It was beautiful and strenuous (We had to climb not just hills and rocks, but stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.) and fun and lovely and totally worth the soreness incurred the next day.

Upon returning home, we saw that our yard was in bloom. The Rose of Sharon bushes were blooming, the Gerbera daisies were blooming, and the hanging baskets were blooming. It was like our home was welcoming us home.

And even though the weekend was truly wonderful, it was equally wonderful to walk through the back door, drop the bags, and sink into the couch.

And although it's always grand to see new places and new things, there is no feeling like falling asleep on your very own pillow in your very own bed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Can't Talk About Harry Potter

So, I totally can't talk about Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Because not everyone has seen it yet and I don't want to spoil it. (Even though you read the book and know what's going to happen. And if you haven't read the book, what is wrong with you????) I will say that I thought some key things got left out and/or glossed over. (But those books are massive. I can't imagine how they even begin to figured how and what to edit.) But I liked it. It made me laugh, and jump, and cry. (Not like I cried for Sirius Black, but still.) Pretty much in that order.

But the important part!!

I was just kind of watching the crowd as the commercial type things were playing on the screen. You know, the "pre" previews? And I hear these three little musical notes. And I know them instantly. Because it's I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight by U2. My face snaps to the screen just as the faintest outline of a face begins to appear. And I know that face. It's Bono! And he starts singing! And the camera starts panning! And there's The Edge! And Larry! And Adam! And I'm just so happy! And I totally know it's going to be a Blackberry ad, but I don't care. (Because someone has to foot the bill for that 360 concert stage. Have you seen it? It's ginormous! It cannot be cheap. So, yeah, let Blackberry fork out some cash.) It was one of those lovely moments of Convergence of All Things Good and True. I love those moments.

I hope you are as lucky as me to get the U2 version when you go see Harry Potter.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Capture - Shapes

So, shapes, huh? These were all out at a beach. I guess that makes them beach shapes. You can see everyone else's shapes at Beth's.

Yes. This is a total rip-off photo. But I couldn't help it.

This month is the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing. But I think I've already bored everyone with one moon mission....

Hot Dogs and such

So, it should not be so hard to find a package of vegetarian hot dogs. It should not take two people, four stores, and two towns to find them.

Vegetarians like to eat junk food, too!

And then, when you do find them (on the third day and fourth trip of looking), they should not cost $5.00 for a package of five hot dogs.

Poor vegetarians like to eat junk food, too!

I'm just saying.

Although, seeing as my main activities for the past week have been re-reading all of the Twilight books straight through in a row and watching all the Harry Potter movies to get ready for the big premiere tonight, maybe that was God's way of getting me off the couch.

"Oh, she wants hot dogs? How badly does she want hot dogs?"

Apparently badly enough to search the tri-state area until I found them.

But this house of financially challenged vegetarians will be eating their soy hot dogs tonight!! You will not best me, local grocery stores!!

(And then we won't want them for another year. So, maybe it's not such a big thing to have to hunt for hot dogs once a year. Perhaps I should just enjoy the challenge of it. I'll have to remember that next summer when we go through this again.)

But I have to go now because I have to finish reading Breaking Dawn so I can make the expensive, hard won, vegetarian hot dogs and get to the movie theater for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

And then, maybe tomorrow, I'll go get a life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Perfect 10

So, my morning got off to a slow start today. I lolly-gagged around for longer than usual before I got to my yoga. I had to force myself to do pilates (Because, um, I really kind of hate it. But I make myself do it twice - okay, sometimes just once - a week for reasons that I can't seem to remember, although at one time I did have reasons.). And then it was time to run.

I applied sunscreen. Pulled up my hair. Put on my knee brace. And grabbed my ipod, which a) had reset itself somehow, after I had left it on shuffle fora week and it was up over 1200 songs, which is a record for me and I was oddly proud, so I was a bit bummed, and b) had absolutely no power! How did that happen? Now I was super bummed. I guess I could have hunted up my old "walkman" but that would have taken some time, and it was already late enough. So I figured I'd go it old school and just simply run.

My plan as I closed the door was six miles. (I'd been covering that much at least once a week for a bit now and was hoping to add a few more miles to that this week.) So I headed down the road with nothing but my keys. It was an odd feeling. I can't remember the last time I ran without music. But it was kind of nice, too. I could hear the gravel crunching satisfactorily under my feet. I could hear the birds talking in the trees. I could hear the train coming in the distance. (Okay, so I can hear that with the ipod, too.) I let my mind wander, (which can be a scary thing to do) and for no apparent reason it wandered to Disney songs. And, really, I don't particularly like Disney songs. I'm totally more of a Muppet girl. But no. My brain was on Disney songs. (Even though I didn't really want to feel the love tonight OR kiss the girl.) That lead to quoting Lilo and Stitch, which was a far better use of brain power. ("Do you KNOW what tuna is? IT'S FISH!" or "She looks like she could use some lovin'." I love Lilo and Stitch. They're a Disney exception.) And then I was back where I started. And I still felt pretty good, so I decided to add on a two mile loop. I mean, I wanted to try to add some mileage this week, right? Why bank on feeling good again on Thursday. Carpe Diem. Thankfully those two miles were Disney-free. (Although I did figure out that U2 will be in Chicago in about 60 days. Which led me to wonder how my Adam can get away with wearing this odd one-piece sleeveless jumpsuit on stage and not look like a total moron, because anyone else on earth could so not pull that off. But I digress.) And when I got back to my starting point, I still felt pretty okay, so I thought, why not just do two more. So I did.

That means I RAN 10 MILES TODAY! It was totally slow. In fact, when I got home I could not believe how late it was. But I didn't care. It hadn't felt that long when I was running, even without the ipod. My form was good. My knee wasn't twinging. My stride, um, existed. And I didn't feel too bad. Sure, it wasn't like the "old days" but, all things considered, it was pretty good!

So now it's the middle of the afternoon and I'm just "starting my day." But I don't care. Because I ran 10 miles today.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Mom and Dad

So, I just want to sing a few praises here. There's been much talking and reading and discussing in my home this week, and while it's served several purposes, one of the main ones for me has been to reiterate just how awesome my parents are and always have been.

When I look back on my life with my parents (thus far), it's always with a smile. Mom and Dad, whether they knew what they were doing or not (smile), never missed an opportunity to let me know they loved me.

Dad played ball with me.

Mom fixed my hair in curls, went to McDonalds to get me a Happy Meal, and took me to the park for a picnic.

They let me "hang out" with them while they listened to records (real actual honest-to-goodness big vinyl record albums) and answered my questions about who we were listening to (even if Dad did try to torment me with that Cat Scratch Fever album cover). They had no idea the monster they were creating, of course. But perhaps when their five year old knew all the words to Meatloaf's Paradise By the Dashboard Light, they might have had a clue.

We had elaborate bedtime good-night rituals, involving things like Eskimo kisses and Frances Face-Maker.

They read to me, gave me books and a library card, and encouraged me to read.

They trusted me to make beverages in the Smurf glasses.

They talked to me. Not just "How was school?"but about what I was learning in school and what was going on in class and what I was actually doing there. They asked me questions about what I thought and felt. And didn't let me off the hook with answers like "Fine..." "Good..." "Okay..." etc. (They still do that.)

They wanted to meet my friends' parents before they'd let me go over to play.

They gave me responsibilities, and there were consequences if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. If Mom told me to clean my room and I didn't, my toys disappeared. (And it took me awhile to realize that they really just disappeared to her closet, but I guess the point was that I thought they really were gone.) And I never really got much allowance, because, um, I never really did much to deserve it. (I still think it might shock Mom that my house is clean.) I was only ever spanked once. Because that's all it took. I never wanted that to happen again. Not just because it hurt and was scary, but I did not want my parents to be that mad at me ever again. I didn't want to disappoint them.

They let me have my own ideas. Encouraged it, even! They didn't always agree with me. ("I'm not eating meat anymore." "I'm going to take my graduation money and go to Germany for a month." "He's buying a house here, and I'm moving in with him.") They would question me, not because they didn't trust me, but to make sure I was thinking through my actions. But they let me do what I thought was right. They let me make my own mistakes (if mistakes were to be made) and they let me learn from them.

Then they supported me in the choices I made. On my first day of work at my first real, this-is-what-I-went-to-college-for job, there was a vase of flowers with a card that said "We're so proud of you! Love, Mom and Dad." When I crossed the finish line of my first ever marathon, they were there to meet me. When I got married they were standing right next to me.

They never tried to make my choices for me.

They might not let me off the hook, but they forgive me for being on the hook in the first place.

They'll help me get started, but then let (or, in some cases, make) me stand on my own two feet.

It's okay if I fail, as long as I try my hardest in doing. Like, you know, high school math.

They know they've raised a (moderately) strong, (very) independent person. But if I say "I need you" or "Help" they are there in a heartbeat, and will stay as long as it takes. Or until they see that I am ready to stand up again, even if I don't see that I'm ready.

They are my friends.

They are awesome parents. Not everyone was blessed to have it so good. And I'm lucky they're mine.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You Capture - Fourth of July / Food

So, as an overachiever, if someone provides me with a choice, like, say, "You can take picutres of the Fourth of July or food," my answer is going to be "Um, both!" And, you know, I'll use any excuse I can to get up close and personal with some good food. You can see everyone else's choice over at Beth's.

For the Fourth of July:

And for Food (maybe some explaining is good here....):

Veggies before being roasted....

Then the same veggie after being roasted and turned in to pizza (which is one of my favorite dinners)......

This one seems pretty self-explanitory (normal Sunday in my kitchen).....

This is while waiting for entrees to be served......

And these are the cupcakes Best Friend made for her daugher's birthday. (Yes, that is, in fact, homemade buttercream frosting and edible glitter. Can it get better? Probably not.).....

So this is love....

So, I married a selfish jerk. Who was a liar. Among other things. I just didn’t find that out until later. Turns out it’s not too hard to hide things away when a relationship is carried on via email and weekend visits. Which is how our “whirlwind romance” was, until he bought a house where I lived and proposed. We were married one year to the month we started dating. But I had fallen in love with someone who didn’t exist. I’d based my expectations for the future on a lie.

I found out the hard way. The big, ugly, God-awful, horrid hard way. And then I had to make a choice. Continue to love him? Stay and attempt to see this though? Or run screaming in the opposite direction? Common sense said run, but I thought of my parents. I’d seen them go through tough times, but I never saw them quit. Or give up. Or leave. And, after all, I had made a promise. For better or worse, right? And I was raised to stick to my word. So I stayed. And I made the mistake of asking “How much worse can it get?”

Um, worse. It got worse. Yelling. Screaming. Fighting. More really bad choices from him. Uncovering more and more and more secrets. Begging him to get help. It tested every ounce of strength and love and understanding and compassion in me. And my parents had to deal with me during that time. Dad had to ask, in all seriousness, “Do you need me to pound him?” The things I had to ask Mom to help me with. But I kept at it. I kept at him. Until finally it came down to what was, essentially, an intervention. Although at the time I just saw it as my breaking point.

Somehow, thankfully, it worked. When he returned from having stormed off, he told me he needed help. Professional help. And he needed me to come with so that he wouldn’t lie. I knew then that we had finally stepped on to the right path. I knew then that, eventually, we’d be okay.

Of course, “eventually” has no real time line. And the first years of counseling were, as they needed to be, about Hubby getting well, facing demons, fighting addiction, standing up for himself to his family, reclaiming (or really just claiming) his life. It was heart wrenching to watch. I did what I could to help. That didn’t feel like much. And it was hard for me, too, in very different ways. I hated to think of me, and hated myself for thinking of me, but I just wasn’t sure what to do. What did this mean for “us?” Would there still be an “us” when this was all said and done? What did this mean for me? Since what I thought I was getting into was a lie, what did I do now? It was like living life on hold.

But once he got through the worst of it, the focus shifted to us. And how to be us now. And we’re still working at that. (And, Hubby’s still working to figure out things for him and about him. It’s a lot to undo 35 years of crap being filtered in to you. To use his words “I wasn’t raised to be a decent human being.” So he’s still working on that. And probably will be for a long time.) But now we’re working for us, too. And, damn, that’s tough.

I still feel like I’m in a kind of limbo. I constantly, daily, have to rework my thinking and alter my expectations of what this life with him is. And since he’s working to change 35 years of bad information, I’ve got to be super extra patient (which I’m so not good at). And one-time possibilities like raising a family slip further away each day. Sometimes I still get bitter that my courtship and the first year of my marriage were based on lies. Sometimes I still get frustrated at his seeming inability to function like a normal human. And I still don’t know where it will all end up.

But I still know we’re on the right path. The peaks start to seem like plateaus (like, it stays good for longer periods of time). The valleys become less deep and further apart. We talk more and fight less. He is a completely different (significantly better) man than the one I married (although still super cute). There are (finally) no secrets between us (Amen.)

So, why do I blather on about all of this today? Not sure. I think maybe I just needed to say it and sort it all out in my head. It's just that kind of a day, I guess. But I think my overall feeling at this point is grateful. I know he's a better, stronger person for all of it. I know I'm a better, stronger person for all of it. I know we're a stronger unit for it. I'm grateful that when he fell, I was there with him. That he had a safe place to completely and utterly fall apart and start over again; that he had someone there with him, because he's told me many times that if I hadn't been there, no one would have been (and I sadly believe that) and that the outcome would have been far worse (and I believe that, too).

Instead the outcome is merely temporary (again, a very relative time term) frustrations shuffled in with the (increasingly plentiful) good times. Hubby and I both believe there was a greater purpose for us to have stumbled across each other when we did. And I'm so grateful, and I do believe, that when he said "I love you" that was never a lie.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Inner Nerd Released!

So, the Super Nerd in me had her day today! Hubby and I went to the Science and Industry Museum!

The reason for the trip - The Harry Potter Exhibit! But, if you go, buy your ticket online before hand. Even though we got there 15 minutes after the museum opened (aka 9:45 am), the earliest entry time was 1:20 pm. Um, that's a lot of time to kill in a place that's not huge. However, we were quite lucky to meet the lovely British gent who let us in 2 hours early ("On you way" he said with a smile. He was awesome. And British. Which upped the awesome factor because he had that accent.). Unfortunately, they do not allow photography in the Harry Potter exhibit. (Otherwise I would have had pictures of hippogryphs, centuars, house elves, and all sorts of other amazing things.) But trust me, IT'S SO COOL.

This is The Smart House. It's completely green and eco-friendly. And although it sounded really awesome and we would have liked to go in and get ideas for our own home, we in fact did not go in because they wanted more money for that and we'd already paid enough to get in the museum and the Harry Potter exhibit. Looking was just fine. (And Hubby bought a really cool t-shirt, so that's something, I guess.)

Now, the Science and Industry Museum is also home of the Henry Crown Space Center. And I am a super-mega-huge space flight dork. As you will see.....

Nerd alert! This is the actual Mercury capsule that Scott Carpenter piloted (Aurora 7, in case you didn't know). He made 3 orbits of Earth on May 24, 1962. It took just under 5 hours.

Very tight quarters inside the craft. The Mercury astronauts did not get to enjoy the zero G conditions of space flight as they were strapped into seats that were literally molded for them. (Yes, I am a walking, talking nerd encyclopedia of space flight history.)

Close up on the instrument panel. How COOL is that? How not reliable (by today's standards) does this look? But it was totally cutting edge.

Super Duper Nerd Alert! This is the actual Apollo 8 capsule, which I might have gotten a bit misty over. But it's beautiful! This was the craft that took Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders on the first ever manned mission to orbit the moon. They broadcast live to Earth on Christmas Eve of 1968, reading from Genesis. (Yup, big huge nerd. That's me.)

Some close up detail of the outer door. I even think this is beautiful! Because I am a raging nerd.

This is the outside of the craft, which still bears the scars of it's journey to and from the moon, as well as it's insanely fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. And I think it's beautiful.

Frank Borman's seat inside Apollo 8. (He would have been, technically, lying on his back, with the instrument panel over his head.) While it looks tight for three men, once the astronauts were on their way, the seats were collapsed and stored, thereby creating more room to move. It's not like they were going to sit in zero G. Since, you know, you can't sit in zero G. There's, you know, nothing to hold you down.

Frank Borman's suit from the Apollo 8 flight, which was the first manned flight to the moon. Ever. (Did I mention that?) Note the mission patch, which creates an 8 around the Earth and the moon. Cool, huh?

So that was my Super Awesome Nerd Adventure. It was capped by and impromptu trip to one of our favorite places to eat. But that's another story for another day.