Monday, February 20, 2006

For Those of You Following My Personal Life

I'm sure you're wondering how lunch went on Saturday. I'm not sure it's fair to write about my ex for all the world to see like this, but then again the man is clueless enough to NEVER LOOK AT MY BLOG. Seriously. If you loved someone, wouldn't you want to know what they've been thinking about?

This blog is a window into my mind. Some people find it entertaining. If I care about something enough to write about it, I'd like to be with someone who cares enough to read it. Not reb sox, but this stuff he should want to see, right? My ex never wanted to see any of my jobs, either, back in the day when he had opportunities to. I don't expect my man to be interested in all the things I am, but to not want to see things that I create? That poor man really IS stuck in his own head.

Anyway, we sat down at a booth and my ex started talking. He talks a lot; perhaps I have mentioned? After awhile, I realized he was going over each of the events leading up to my break-up, and making excuses for his behavior. "But you realize, that weekend is not why I broke up with you?" I'm sure we can all relate to his frenzied contemplation, the microscope we pull out after losing someone we love, examining the last days for things we could have done to prevent that final event... looking for ways to reverse it.

When I told him I was never going back to him, he replied emphatically that I have said that before. Well of course he would like to believe that, because in that case he doesn't have to believe me. I hate when he tells me that I said things I didn't say. It's exasperating. And it's happened so many times over the years, I can only shrug my shoulders because to fight it seems useless. Then he went into how our memories are really solidified by the first time we remember something, not from the actual event. He talked about this just long enough to make me feel like there had been ample separation from his original statement, and I made mine. I told him I knew I didn't say that not from memory, but because I would not have said it. I don't make declarative statements unless I am sure, and I was not sure until now. I might have said not for a very long time, but I would not have said "never". Well he must have not liked hearing that because he changed the subject.

He told me he had this picture stuck in his mind, of him and me and some kids on the farm back in PA... I love that picture, too. But it's a still-life. I don't have a problem with the big picture with my ex; it's the day-to-day stuff I just can't handle. But how do you tell someone that he annoys the living shit out of you? Ah, you don't. Or at least I couldn't.

Finally he said that we didn't have to talk about all that. So he asked about my niece, and I asked about what he'd be doing this weekend in PA before leaving for the Carribean, and if he'd be seeing his sisters. (Possibly, but doing some "work" at the farm seemed to be a much larger priority than spending time with his family.) We finished off our lunch and I walked him to his truck. He gave me a half-hearted hug, and I felt like he was trying not to look at me as he drove past through the parking lot. I wonder how many miles he cried.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Oh, Those Golden Rings

I admit it, I'm a sentimental sop. That Chase Mastercard commercial - you know where you see the couple get engaged and married and have kids and grow old and grey together - is just the latest of a thousand ads that choke me up every time I see them. I'm a sucker for this stuff; my heartstrings may as well be glow-in-the-dark red with a billboard next to them emblazoned with the words "pull here".

So when the Olympics come around, now every two years, you can find me in front of the tele. I love the "human interest" stories, a snapshot into the lives of these athletes; the network knows we will care about each athlete once we "get to know them" and therefore want to WATCH. I know it's a trick, and I don't care. I love the drama they put into it, the music and the voice-over narrative, telling a tale of hard work, grit and determination.

It seems like most of my friends could care less about the Olympics. It makes me wonder if the games have lost some of their mass appeal, but I realize in a world this diversified, everything has lost its mass appeal. So if they'd rather waste their primetime with Survivor, that's their choice.

Globally, these Olympic games are a special part of history which weaves its way into our American pop culture. Who can forget Mary Lou Retton on the Wheaties box? The Jamaican bobsled team? South Park has ensured that almost no one in my generation will forget figure skater Brian Boitano, and I'm sure most of you will wince and touch the back of your head when you read the name Greg Louganis. Even if he fails to medal in these games, Nike's clever "are you a bodeist" ads might stick Miller to your brain, and if you've seen it once, you will never forget the stumble of Lindsey Jacobellis, demonstrating quite literally the old scriptural adage "pride cometh before a fall".

It was four years ago now that my ex said to me "Nobody cared about figure skating until the Tonya Harding controversy. It took a violent act to get people to watch the sport." I was speechless; the statement was too ludicrous to even bother arguing with. Uh, does the name Dorothy Hamill mean anything to you? Even if people don't care as much about the Olympics anymore, we've all seen at least a snippet of Michelle Kwan on skates, and seeing her step down from the team this year was sad not just to the competitive skating community, but to anyone paying attention.

When I was a kid, the Olympic games were the one area in which the cold war really was fought - in head to head competition, or lack thereof via "boycott". The medal count was the biggest part; winning was more than just athletic victory- it was political as well. Maybe the games have lost their edge to some people, not having that anymore... Not me. I like being able to see the Russians and Germans and Chinese as PEOPLE, not genetic-freak superhumans produced by the enemy. There is a pride in representing your country and cultural heritage that ought not to be tainted by hate of another's. We still see the medal counts for each country, but not often, and I'm glad to no longer care about them.

The Olympics are a chance to see the best of the best compete in events we might not normally watch. They really are about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, a chance that comes for most of these athletes just once in a lifetime. From the examples that came to mind while writing this post, I see that my interest in the games is not merely about winning... Jenny Thompson has won more medals (12) than any other American, and more gold (8) than anyone in the history of the Olympics, but the long program skated by Evan Lysacek in Torino may remain just as etched in my mind. The medal stand is about talent and performance, but the Olympic dream is about courage and desire, the sacrifice of much for the achievement of just one moment of glory. This is why I watch.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Silence Can Speak Volumes

Against my better judgment, I answered the phone today when my ex called. He's leaving for a month in the Caribbean. Apparently he's traveling to his parents' house first, though, as he said he'll be driving through the area tomorrow. And again, against my better judgment, it looks like I'll be meeting him for coffee or lunch.

I had been feeling a bit of guilt for not responding to his latest phone call and e-mail (over a month ago now.) I know he resents my silence; he ranted an earful about it to a mutual friend just last week. I hate not responding to people; it's rude. I've kept quiet for a reason. Sometimes people can learn more from silence than they can from words. Especially people who don't listen.

My ex can listen when he tries... But mostly it's to demonstrate that he is listening by responding specifically to what has been said. He never really listens. What I mean by this is he does not seem to take what is being said very seriously. I've told y'all this before, right? He has his own interpretation of things - we all do, don't we? - and that includes my own thoughts. I have told him at times that I felt a certain way about something (being vague here, not to be discreet but to generalize) and he has literally told me that I was wrong, and that I felt some different way, some way that was miles away from what I was feeling... And he would insist on it, which is absurd, I know, but the man has his own ideas about what is going on, and he will not stray from them. So even when he is listening, he is not listening but trying to fit the words he is hearing like puzzle pieces into his own version of the world. (We all do this, to some extent, by the way. This is just an odd and unproductive area to filter in this manner.)

The phone call and e-mail in question, which I did not respond to, are actually nice examples of this very issue. "All I need to do is leave you alone during the week. Maybe one 10-20 minute phone call on a Saturday or Sunday would be nice." -are you forgetting that this is now unnecessary?- "I truly believe that the solution is simple and that you make the problem bigger than it really is." I felt that he was belittling my feelings, or even pretending they don't exist.

I just want to be happy. And I want him to be happy. And being together WILL NOT maximize our happiness. If only he could feel my teeth clench as he is side-stepping his point to bring up something else that I already know, embellishing all the while with adjectives and descriptions... If only he could feel how BADLY I need him to get to the point, how much I want to wring his neck - or better! cut off his tongue - as he drones on and on and on.... This is not happiness. How could he want that?

He tried to make me feel guilty and defend himself simultaneously by telling me this "behavior" (this is just him, BTW. No need for excuses, I've known the man nearly eight years now and THIS IS WHO HE IS.) was due to a really tough couple of months he was going through. Believe me, I can handle tough. And life dishes out months sometimes which are FAR tougher than those in question, and I am a rock of emotional support in times of need. But it's really hard to play the loving, supportive role while someone is annoying the shit out of you. So even if this WAS all about having a rough time, I just can't deal.

I don't want to, I don't have to, and I won't. There are hundreds, if not thousands of women out there who can make my ex ten times happier than I can. Simply by not getting thoroughly irritated every time he opens his mouth is a great start. He just can't see this yet because he's so damn used to ME. Maybe if he had not been such a dink four or five years ago we would already be married and I would suffer and fight tooth and nail to make this work. But thank the flying spaghetti monster that we're not and I don't have to. Let's count our blessings and move on.

I don't mean to sound cold. As I have written before, I do love the man. I want what's best for him almost as much as what's best for myself. And despite what what he has written in stone in his head, what's best for him is NOT ME. Seriously, I think I could end up killing him, he frustrates me THAT MUCH. And nobody wants that. And this, in a way, is why I didn't write back. Or call. Or make a point to let him know I was in town last week. This is why I made a point to NOT be in that area THIS week, so as to not give him the wrong idea. (Not that he, in the entire seven years that I've known him, has given me even so much as a card for valentine's day.) This is why I shouldn't have answered the phone today. And why I shouldn't go and have lunch or coffee with him tomorrow. Because regardless of what I say to him, he's thinking "She's talking to me! I have a chance!" And he doesn't.

I'm never going back to him. I don't like to make declarative statements unless I am sure, and in this case I am. We are just not right for each other. I don't like it, but the only way I can get him to see this is silence. Every time I respond to him, I send him right back to square one. I don't want to toy with his feelings. I don't want to tease and keep him hanging on. I will try to be brutally honest tomorrow (I have a lot of trouble with the "brutal" part) but I know it would have been better to just not answer the phone.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Speed of Time

When we are young, time travels slowly. The years creep on past as we anxiously look ahead. But then, suddenly, just as we wish it would start to stand still, the time begins to fly by. Years can disappear without notice. And not until we have children in our lives again are we able to gage just how long a year is.

It's hard to believe it's been nearly three years since I packed all my shit and moved here from NH (without telling my boyfriend). I lived in Dover so long, it still seems like my hometown in a strange way... and yet it moves on without me, and life with it.

A close friend had a baby right before I moved. It was the first time I had been around locally for a friend through her pregnancy, and I was sad to leave them, knowing I would not get to see the baby grow as I would like. But I'm still in the area every two or three months, and I see them as often as I can. It was a shock to realize, on my way for a visit last week, that Avery was turning three this past Saturday. Look at her! She smiles, she talks, she plays, she draws faces... three years for me have disappeared in a snap, but this wee little baby has turned into a girl.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Taste Test

Is Vodka Better When Made From Potatoes?

'cause after all, what better thing to decide while buried beneath twenty-some inches of snow?

Truth is, vodka tastes like rubbing alcohol no matter what it's made with... or does it? Just one week ago, quite tipsy from superbowl celebration, I did not think so at all after opening my bottle of hangar one "straight". But yeah, then again, I was drunk. So when I heard this past week that potato vodka was better, I just had to find out. So I got off the highway a bit early last night and picked up a bottle on the way home.

And so, quite a bit more sober (yet quickly on my way to otherwise) I will tell you that indeed, all vodka tastes like rubbing alcohol. (or at least the two I have in front of me.) And indeed, potato vodka has a clearer taste. Aye, I might have to have a few test runs of this to make sure. stay tuned. please try this at home, if over twenty-one, and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Show and Tell

It's been a crazy week for reb, and instead of packing and getting myself off to NH as I should be right now, I am trying to jot off an update for you, my dear readers. As you can see, I have received my egg cups and put them into use. JessieE rocks, as I'm sure you people know, and a "set" of egg cups amounts to six of them, apparently. I hope you can tell from the photo just how dainty they are. The china is the milky, semi-opaque type which I loooove... the white background has a glow of pale blue. Plus they are quite functional, and you know what a stickler I am for that sort of thing.

Soft-boiled eggs are a lot more filling than you might think. It seems like such a tiny amount of food, and yet this baby is a protein bomb! I've determined that one egg is plenty (for me) when eaten with toast. Er, or english muffin. I've discovered the best english muffins in the world, sold not in my grocery store but in fact right across the street from me at Walgreen's. "Bay's". Yeah, I'd never heard of them before, either. Really I could get away with just half the muffin, but for a real stick-to-your-ribs don't-need-to-eat-until-dinner type of breakfast, I eat the other half with my Rara's raspberry jam and a packet of peaches n' cream oatmeal. And to think I never used to eat breakfast at all.