Friday, 30 March 2007

I'm so over them

How do you know when a friendship is over? When you don't hear from someone for six months? When plans are made and broken several times over? When plans are made and you're not included? When you're standing in the school yard at pick-up time and they studiously avoid talking to you?

All of the above have happened to me this year, although not with the same person. I think there are various watershed times in our lives when events conspire to tell us it's time to move on. I'm always the last in the line to realise it. Until it's pretty bloody obvious. I just don't know where to move on to yet.

It's like a slow death and I go through the various stages of accepting it's over. Anger. Depression. Denial. Bargaining. Acceptance. I've had a lot of anger and depression. Now I think I'll skip to Acceptance. There is nothing more I can do. The friendships are moribund. They brought me some pleasure in the beginning. But they're too much work for one person to keep going. Better to concentrate on the living, giving friendships.

No wonder I'm so into my animals. They never give me a moment's grief or unhappiness. With my husband away all week and my 12-year-old daughter going through that particular 12-year-old phase of being embarrassed by me and even hating me a bit, I need solid friendships. And I try to give back because I believe that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. But with some people, I've given too much and I feel burned and slighted.

Onto other matters: one of my favourite stores, TK Maxx, has also burned and slighted me and millions of others with the news of the security breach. I'll never feel I can trust them again. They could even go out of business over this. Then where will I find my bargains?

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Well, isn't that blogtastic

I just read that apparently the blog craze has peaked and lots of people will now be dropping their blogs, if they haven't already. That incredibly intelligent Lindsey Lohan was cited as an example. So was the breathtakingly brilliant Melanie Griffith. Well, if Lindsey and Mel say it's over, it must be, right? Typical of me to hop on the bandwagon just as the band is putting its instruments away.

I've just started this blog this month (I'm probably the only one who reads it, but that's OK). It's opened my eyes to a huge new world out there, to people's lives and interests. And now people apparently are moving on to the next big thing -- YouTube and MySpace and whatever else.

Oh well. I'll hang in there for a while. It takes time to keep a blog going, and not many people have that much time.

Some random thoughts: I'm not sure which Democratic candidate to support. There's a nastiness about Hilary Clinton's campaign that bothers me. Why is she going after Obama Barack so viciously? Better to just let time take its toll. His inexperience would probably show him up eventually. And John What'sHisName -- well, that says a lot, doesn't it. As for the Republicans, could there be two nastier individuals than McCain and Guliani? Especially Guliani, whose reputation pre 9/11 was 180 degrees opposite to post 9/11.

One of my well-meaning British friends sent me an email that purports to be a letter from John Cleese to America. An extremely condescending piece of trash . So I wrote one back suggesting the IRS would be interested in him as well as Immigration.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Well, I lost 2 pounds in my first week back at Weight Watchers. Not bad considering all the stuff I ate that didn't go down on my tracker sheet. How do you put down 5 crisps or 12 jelly beans? That's free food as far as I'm concerned. And a glass of wine is only finished when my husband stops filling it up. I never lose dramatic amounts in the first week anyway. It's always slow and very painstaking work to take the weight off.

I also ran 5K yesterday on the treadmill. Getting in shape for the Race for Life in June. I've got lots of friends and my daughter signed up to do it as well. Of course, I woke up today feeling like death and could barely get out of bed. But I know I can run the 5K the whole way, just not very fast. I'm very proud that I got one of my more inactive friends to do it. I'm working with her, starting with walking, then walking/running. On Saturday we did our first walk/run. She held up very well considering she doesn't do much. But she used to do a lot of sport when she was younger and I think that stays with you. I'm the opposite. I used to be very inactive in my youth and now am quite active. No matter how much I do, I always feel like I'm not as fit as others who don't do much at all. Like when we went skiing in February. I did lots of squats beforehand to try to build up my thighs, but my friend, who's so lazy she's not even doing the Race for Life, skiied loads better and didn't seem to suffer nearly as much as me. She never lifts a finger if she can help it. Her husband does most everything round the house. My husband is hardly even here so I have to do everything. Not fair.

I wonder how I'll get on over the Easter holidays. We're going to Barcelona next week, come back for Easter, then the kids go to the grandparents, and I'm going to London with Hubby for a few days. I didn't really want to go, but he had this really sad expression on his face so I thought I'd better go to keep the marital peace. I just don't like his flat. It's so bland and boring. I'll have to do a lot of shopping or something to keep me occupied. I'll have to try hard to stick to Weight Watchers while I'm away. It won't be easy, especially in Barcelona.

Monday, 26 March 2007

My uncle is dying, my mother tells me. He's lived with cancer for 15 years. First the prostate, then the bones. Now the bones are so riddled with disease and weak they can barely support his now very slight weight. 85 years old and this is how he goes. He was such a robust man, a pilot in WWII. A career military man till they screwed him out of colonel. Married three times -- the first to a beautiful girl who died in a tragic car accident. He was the driver, but didn't cause it. Then he married another beautiful woman, on the outside. A complete and utter bitch who made his life hell. He escaped that prison and married his third wife. Not a looker at all, but so kind and fun to be with. She would do anything for him and he for her. He built her a pipe organ. It must be killing her to not be able to take care of him. He's had to go to a nursing home because she can't look after him.

He would send me loads of emails, mostly jokes. In the beginning really rude, but as the cancer took hold, gentler humor. And lots of pro-Bush ones, but he would be, wouldn't he. Being ex-military and all.

Sometimes he would shyly and quietly ask how my dad was. He couldn't be seen by his sisters to care for the turncoat after my parents' acrimonious divorce. But my dad and he had always liked and respected each other.

My mother's very upset, as you might expect. I don't know if she has many people to talk to about it. Not her husband, who isn't really in this world anymore. Her sister maybe, though she is both her best friend and worst enemy. I don't know how to comfort her from this distance.

I tossed and turned in bed last night. Hubby left at 2:30 a.m. to drive back to London. All my night demons came to visit -- would he arrive safely? what about my mother and uncle? how will my son do on his SATs? And what about the friend who has drifted over the past six months and who I feel has used me. After two hours of this I got up and took half a 5mg valium. I don't like to do that, but I felt I would never get back to sleep otherwise. I went to sleep and dreamt about my erstwhile friend. Apparently, in my dream, I'd written something very uncomplimentary about her and her family, which I then gave her to read. Understandably, she was very upset with me. I described one of her daughters as being schizophrenic. Why would I dream that? I don't have bad feelings about her daughters, only about her.

While I was lying awake in the darkness, I also wondered about how I'll cope when its my mother's turn to go. Although both my parents are elderly, they are still in pretty good shape for their age (82 this year) and compared to the parents of my friends. One friend's mother has Alzheimer's. One died in December, another died a few years ago. One has vertigo really bad. How will it be when it's my parents' turn?

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Binge and purge

The cats woke me up at 4:46 this morning. Struggled to get back to sleep what with sore throat and all. Finally did only to have a dream that I had uncontrollable diarrhea everywhere. I woke up thinking "I worked hard to get back to sleep for that?" I was exhausted from all the subconscious cleaning-up I had to do. What could dreaming about bowels out of control possibly mean? I don't think I even want to go there.

Needless to say, I'm too tired to do anything.

Maybe it's because I went back to Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time last night. I managed to keep the weight off for about two years then had the Big Depression last autumn when some so-called friends dumped me because we put our house up for sale. But now our house isn't for sale anymore. I feel like I've won a reprieve from a serious illness or prison sentence.

During the depths of my depression, I felt so bad about my kids. I know what it's like to grow up with a depressed parent. I used to come home from school and find my mother lying on our chair that looked like Frazier's dad's (only without the duct tape). She'd be staring at the ceiling saying in a monotone, "I have no friends. I have no life." I resented her for that. She should have been up and active and doing things instead of feeling sorry for herself.
And I wonder if that's what my kids think about me. Do they think I'm a real saddo? I don't lie on a chair all day or bemoan my lack of friends (actually I do the latter sometimes). Kids don't want to know their parent's problems. I was ready to leave my husband over this house issue. Fortunately, my son's education has solved all that.

Anyway, maybe the diarrhea dream was about purging myself of all the garbage I've felt over the past few months. I'm cleaning myself out and moving on. I've started running again in preparation for a 5K in June. I even got some friends doing it too. And now that my house will remain my home, I want to get it in better shape too. Life moves on.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Home Sweet Home

So it's official. We aren't selling our house. We can take that bloody sign down and get on with our lives. I feel so relieved. But of course the question is what do I do now? I can continue with life as it was, but maybe it is time for change but of a different sort.
The children moving up to secondary school will provide a natural break with some schoolgate mum friends who I don't consider real friends anymore. I can have more freedom to get on with doing whatever I end up doing.
I find it somewhat amusing that I've become so attached to this area. There was a time not that long ago when I couldn't wait to leave here. I hated the weather, the preponderance of old people (reminded me far too much of when I lived in Fort Myers, Fla.), everything. However, as when I lived in New York, it grew on me -- slowly but surely. I began to see beauty where before I saw dross. Walking along the beach on a sunny day. Driving up and down and seeing the familiar faces and places. Watching my children's friends grow older and my friends grow dearer. The daily passage of life here has become something I cherish.
Maybe it's because it's been so long since I've lived near family (try 30 years -- I left for college and never moved back home again). I lived in the same house till I was 15 when my parents split up. This is the longest I've lived in one place since then. I had my children here. You could say I grew up here in a way.
I'm happy I'm staying here. I think I should have a party.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Well, it's one of those days.
I started off at the dr.'s for the dreaded s-test, was told by the nurse that my estrogen levels are "tumbling," i.e., menopause is on its way. The estate agent rang up and said a couple who were interested in the house will only put their house up for sale if we agree to drop the sale price of ours £70,000!!!! Don't think so. I think Hubby will agree this weekend to take it off the market. Hooray!!! I didn't want to move down south anyway and neither did the kids. I gave up everything 15 years ago to move to this country and it took me 10 years to get used to where I am. I have friends and a life here.
I'm waiting to hear from some of those "friends" (as opposed to real friends) about a lunch organised for tomorrow that I suspect I've been uninvited to. Did they hear about my tumbling estrogen levels? I really would love to just have a "right paddy" and "throw my toys out of the pram" as they say here in merry olde England. But I can't because my estrogen levels might tumble even further.
I went to the gym for my khai bo class, which is excellent for getting rid of built-up aggression and hormones. But I felt a bit stiff in my back and couldn't punch and kick as hard as I'd like. Also, I always think the instructor is looking at me like I'm some sort of uncoordinated menopausal geek. At least I'm not like the middle-aged men in the class. I stay away from them because when you stand next to them you get showered in their sweat. Disgusting!!! One of them always wears the same T-shirt. Does it ever get washed? Doesn't look or smell like it. Also, his shorts tend to slither down, revealing a very hairy crack. Yuuuuukkkkkk!!!! There's another guy who does spin sometimes who is very large and very sweaty. There are always puddles around the bike when he leaves. I call him Squidgy. Why do men sweat so much more than women? I can do the same amount of exercise as some of the men, and while I'm not exactly pristine, I don't look like I've been in the pool.
I had a coffee with my friend Lesley, who is so strong and stalwart despite all that goes on in her life. If I had a magic wand, I would wave it and make everything perfect for her. But all I can offer is my attention and time.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Ground control

Yesterday I was helping my son load the dishwasher when I realised it was his job and I stopped. "You always do this," the 10-year-old told me, "because you're a control freak."

And of course I am. I'm also married to a control freak with even bigger control issues than my own. For all our life together, some 15 years, we have clashed over folding laundry and loading the dishwasher. I like him to stay out of the utility room and let me get on with it in my own time and my own way. He always barges in, washes my delicates and puts them in the dryer, thus shrinking them. No amount of shouting from me has stopped him from this very annoying habit. You could say he's doing me a favour, but you'd be wrong. It's no favour when your favourite sweater ends up fitting a 10-year-old.

His personal bug-a-boo is loading the dishwasher. I will have loaded it throughout the day in preparation for one big cycle after dinner. But he can't stand that or the way I've loaded it.
Mr. Environmentally Aware wants to run the dishwasher as soon as there's one dirty dish. So he runs it in the morning, then again in the morning, then the afternoon, then before dinner and then after dinner. That's enough water for some poor African country for a month. Also, he has to rearrange every dish that I've put in. So I go in the utility room and refold his laundry. My way. Don't even get me started on duvet wars.

It could be worse. My first hubby and I came into our relationship with two sets of cutlery and dishes. When he cooked, we ate off his dishes. When I cooked, we ate off mine. We finally bought a new set, then got divorced and had to split it up.

But back to the 10-year-old. What sort of message am I sending him and his sister? I hope they have the humour and tolerance that their parents sometimes lack. I hope they don't get hung up on how the clothes are folded or the dishwasher loaded. In short, I hope they don't grow up to be control freaks because it really isn't that much fun being one.

Monday, 12 March 2007

So I was wandering around Tesco today looking at the various "anti-aging" products, thinking there's not much I can do about the aging bit other than die. When did aging become something we were all anti? Does it happen on our 40th birthday, our 30th? There are so many "cures" and "concealers" and "enhancers" and "slimmers".

I blame mirrors. If we didn't look at ourselves, we wouldn't know we were fat, or wrinkly, or had cellulite or age spots. I don't think this is a recent phenomenon. I think potions of some sort or another have been around for a long time preying on those of us who aren't quite satisfied with our appearance.

I like to look in the mirror. Not that I like my appearance that much. I like to find the faults and see if I can hide them from everyone else. I have one of those big makeup mirrors with lights that shows up most everything. And it shows a lot these days. One night I went to bed and woke up with wrinkles under my eyes. I swear to God it happened that quick.

And I developed Ethel Merman arms one other night. Now if I sing "There's No Business Like Show Business" (which I haven't done since the window cleaner saw me perform naked) I can keep time with the jiggly bits.

The only solution for me is to stop sleeping. No one will notice the wrinkles for the dark circles.

Friday, 9 March 2007

They're All Animals

I wonder how politicians wake up and look at themselves every day. How can they sleep at night? Like Dick Cheney for instance. The USA veep shouldn't even be alive. He's had four heart attacks, DVTs. But I'm not sure it's blood that flows through his veins. He's got his talking puppet, Dubya, to keep going on about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when clearly there were none. I thought Ronald Reagan was the only living brain donor. Now that he's dead, Dubya has taken on that mantle. You look into the guy's eyes and there's just nothing there. No sign of intelligent life at all.

The U.S. isn't the only country with scary politicians. Here in GB there are plenty. Now here's something that has never made sense to me. If a politician gets caught with his (and it usually is a man) pants down -- figuratively or literally -- it's like he's committed the greatest sin ever. But sending young men and women off to fight in a war started for bogus reasons is OK; it's patriotic. The American public certainly have been hoodwinked by Dubya and his lot. The British, thanks to a more skeptical press, have been less likely to believe Blair. Maybe it's his Cheshire Cat grin. Or his money-hungry wife.

The Iraq War sadly has made me feel almost ashamed of my mother country. But maybe things will change now. Although I don't think Hillary Clinton is the answer. She voted for the war, after all. Also, there's just something about her that's not right. Like when Bill was running the first time and there was criticism about her being a working mother. Next thing you know, she got herself plastered all over the "women's" magazines baking cookies. She's not true to herself and shows a real lack of respect for mothers who go out to work and those who stay home.

That's my soapbox for today. Stay tuned for the Miracle of Menopause.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

My perfect life

So I thought I'd try this blogging business since I have a lot of thoughts and, let's face it, a lot of time. Going through a rather harrowing (for me) year though I know I have a lot to be grateful for. I don't live in Africa or Iraq or even Washington, D.C. I have two wonderful children who don't always think I'm so wonderful. The question is, how did I end up living my mother's life? That was NOT supposed to happen. I was supposed to have a career, hubby, two kiddies, perfect life, maybe a SUV or two.

I chucked the career when I met hubby number 2 because I wanted to concentrate on having the perfect marriage and children. Hubby now works in London during the week, wants me to move down there so I can share in the inner circle of hell life and uproot my children from their perfect life. And I don't even have a SUV. Of course they're politically incorrect these days.

So I'm in the latter stages of my 40s, haven't worked as such in 15 years, have a severe case of cellulite, and everything's going south. Oh Boo Hoo Hoo.

Where is Dear Abby (legendary agony aunt in America) when you need her? Dead in the ground. Or somewhere. And replaced by some niece or daughter or something. What would Dear Abby say to me when I contemplate cutting myself because I now understand why all those people do it? Probably "Wake up and smell the coffee." You gotta love Dear Abby.