Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's Important To You?

This morning's class was "group dynamics." This can take on a lot of different shapes, but generally speaking it's about us getting more in touch with the things that make us tick and how we can use our knowledge to be better therapists to our clients.

One of the exercises today was pairing up with another classmate and asking the questions "what's important to you?" and "why?". Then we paired up with another classmate and asked "What do you care about?" and "why?". At one point one of my answers to "what's important to you?" was, of course, family. When the follow-up questions "why?" was put forth, I replied "because I've had so many drop dead on me that I have to hold tight to the ones that are left."

Frankly, I was a little surprised that I'd said that out loud, but it was the truth. Family is more important to me than ever. Ironically enough, however, I didn't start missing my dad until a little later on. But I was sitting there thinking about how badly I wished he were here to see all that I was doing and accomplishing. I know he'd be proud of me; of that I have no doubt. But I wish he was here to see it.

I miss him. He was such a good person, a good soul. I couldn't have asked for a better father, and there is a hole in my life where he should be.

Yeah, right now I'm missing him.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As It Silently Slips Away

Friends are the family you choose as opposed to the family you were born into. They are the ones who keep you sane in an otherwise crazy world. When there is no one left to turn to, there is always a friend. They laugh with you, cry with you, tell you to stop being a dumbass, that yes those pants really do make you look fat, and no you shouldn't be dating him (however fine his ass may be).

It would seem that I've been recently "laid off" by an old high school friend. I think the reality is that the friendship ran its course a long time ago. Time and distance have a way of severing ties like nothing else. You can hold on and hold on to those frazzled ends, but eventually those frayed ends snap. Sometimes it snaps badly, leaving both ends tending raw wounds that never heal; sometimes it just unravels quietly, leaving you to think "I wonder how so-and-so is doing these days?" at random moments.

I think part of the problem was that on some level, we saw each other as we were all those years ago in high school. Our images of each other never changed, despite the fact that we grew into two very different individuals. In seeing each other through lenses cracked with time and clouded with old information, we never really saw the people we turned out to be.

And that happens. It's not a bad thing, it is just simply what happened. I will always wish the best for her, and if you are reading this now I will always consider you to be a friend and will always want the best for you and your family.

And who knows? Perhaps this isn't the end of a friendship after all. Perhaps this is just the winter hibernation, and the seed of friendship will sprout anew in the springtime. Perhaps we will see each other with fresh, new eyes for the people we are now. Perhaps old grievances will fall away and we will be left standing face to face with nothing but ourselves and the promise of friendship renewed.

I would like that very much.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GRARGH!

Well, lookie here. Two posts in one day. Aren't you all lucky?

After the horrendous start to the morning resolved itself and I got on with my day, I really started thinking about a few things, and I came to a conclusion. I cannot do everything I have given myself to do. I literally do not have the time in my life to go to school, work, do the homework, cook and do laundry, sleep, clean and dance.

Cleaning was the first to go.

Okay, so it was never really there to begin with.

Anyway.

All I know is that I cannot dedicate as much time to doing a quality job on my schoolwork as I would like. To do so, I'd have to either give up cooking my own food, dancing, cut back on my hours at work, or figure out a way to cram in all my schoolwork and stop whining.

I can't afford to give up cooking my own food; vegan prepared foods are generally too expensive. I REFUSE to give up the dancing - it is only two hours a week and it's the only thing keeping me sane. I can't cut hours at work as I'm already doing the bare minimum needed to pay the bills.

So that leaves cramming it all in, which is where I am now and not working. So, I need to re-evaluate my time scheduling. I need to dedicate more time to the things of greater importance (these damned muscle quizzes) and less time to the things that really aren't so important (the history of massage). I thought I was doing pretty good with my scheduling; obviously I need to do better.

All I know is that at some point today I just gave up. I mentally threw my hands up in the air and walked out the door. I'll give myself permission to that tonight. To feel like I'm out of control and to curl up in bed with the covers over my head. Sure, fine. Tomorrow, I'm picking myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and getting back in the game. Because I'm too damned stubborn to give up.

And one of these days I'm going to pass that damned muscle quiz the first time around.

Whoever Said Today Wasn't Monday Was Lying

Okay, so today was a class day. I'm up, I've eaten breakfast, I've trolled the interweb, I'm dressed. I'm on time!!! Yay, me! There was a hard-ass quiz today and I wanted to make sure that I got myself there on time and settled before being eviscerated taking the quiz.

I walk out the door with all my class stuff, get two steps, and realize something. I do not have my keys. They are still in my apartment, safely locked away from those who would do bad and naughty things with them. Like drive to school.

Frak.

So I walk down to the office, prepared to just rush into school, barely making it. Get a spare key, walk back to my apartment and go to open the door.

The key does not work.

Frak.

I drop all my crap at this point and sprint back to the office, out of breath and gasping "the key doesn't work." They are confuzzled, but send a maintenance guy to open the door for me. Takes him five seconds, if that.

I ended up being like 15 minutes late, and people were already finishing up the quiz. I slam through it, aware that if I take my time I probably still wouldn't know the answers to half the questions.

Sigh. It sure felt like Monday to me....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Permit Me a Brief Whine.

I love my life right now. I'm enjoying learning new things, meeting new people, and just my job in general. I feel a general positivity I haven't felt in a very long time.

That being said, there are a few things I'm missing right now...

1. Weekends: I have 7.5 months left before I can start having them again.

2. Learning at my own pace: My brain is on overload. I would very much like to spend one afternoon reading a Nora Roberts book instead of the Trail Guide to the Body.

3. Going out with friends

4. Going to the movies

5. Yoga: I haven't had the time to go to a class since I started school. I'm looking forward to having some time soon to go again!

6. The Food Network: I got rid of all but basic cable and internet when I took my part-time job. Nigella, Giada, Alton, Paula, Ina ... I miss youse guys!

7. Taking a three day weekend and visiting friends not in the State: I've had to turn down several invites, including one that was a mere 2 hours a way in Montreal and another a mere 2 hours south right here in VT. Sigh. They'd have been really fun, too.

8. Being able to say "Yes" to performing somewhere/going to a workshop instead of "I can't I have to work."

Okay, I'm going to stop at 8. I told you I was going to whine. I know this is all temporary and I really don't mind giving up a few perks, considering going forward with this plan of action was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

But overwhelmed is overwhelmed. It's a good thing I've only 7.5 months until graduation; I don't think I could keep up this pace for much longer. Props those who work full-time and go to work full-time, or work, go to school and have kids. I don't know how you peeps do it.


Friday, November 13, 2009

...and GO.

So the transition to veganism is going pretty good so far. The food I couldn't eat was given to a friend whose family (three teenagers) eats pretty much anything not nailed down. I got rid of my leather belly dancing top to one of my troupe members. I have a pile of shoes and purses that need to go to GoodWill. I need to finish going through my clothes. Those all seem to be either cotton or some kind of poly blend; so far I'm only getting rid of two things. I'm sure that will change though.

I'm on the fence about some blankets I have. First off, I should say I am a blanket whore. there is a running joke in my family about me being the Princess in the Princess and the Pea story, except I sleep under a ton of blankets instead of on top of a ton of mattresses. I will not lie - I have a veritable collections of blankets stuffed everywhere. I freely admit this is an odd addiction, but in my defense winters in Vermont are friggin' COLD and I haven't actually bought a new blanket in quite a few years.

None of my blankets are down (thankfully) so I'm safe there. Two, however, are wool. Both are gifts from people I treasure. The first, a green and black checked throw, was given to me by my friend Angie. The other is an Army surplus wool blanket ordered by my father for me literally a week or so before he died back in 2001. He ordered one for my brother as well. Apparently he had done some Christmas shopping shortly before he died (he was a fan of Cabella's) and they arrived after the funeral. He had also given me some money to buy Mom some Christmas presents - I was his personal shopper that way. It was a hard Christmas that year - seeing all of those presents under the tree from Dad, those tokens of affection from someone who was no longer with us.

I don't think I'll be giving that blanket away. Not ever.

Anyway. My plan is to be eating 100% vegan pretty much immediately. Luckily the only thing I was really hanging on to was cheese and I don't have any in the house right now. I've got some organic mayo and Smart Balance that I will probably either give my Mom or just throw away. Of course, going vegan right before the Holidays was just a smashing idea. The upside is that I won't pig out on all of my Mom's spectacular cookies, because they all have butter, milk and eggs in them. I have the recipes for my faves though, so at some point I am going to try and veganize them. I shall keep thee posted.

In regards to clothing and beauty products that need to be used before purchasing new, I hope to have all of that used up in six months time. I've got a couple things that may take longer to be used up, but by this time next year, I should be 98% vegan. I can't say 100% because of those few sentimental items I am choosing to keep. I am okay with that.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Well, what do you know?

I think I'm officially transitioning to veganism.

It's going to take a bit, but here is what I'm coming up with...

Shoes: surprisingly, the majority are already vegan. Yay, me! Well, the one's I've checked, anyway. I don't really wear any of them anyway, so giving them away isn't all that painful. My work shoes (hostess shoes since I stand all day) and my favorite euro trainers are not. As I am a poor student, I am for the time being going to use them up and replace them with vegan alternatives when they bite the dust.

Food: A bit trickier. I am giving a bunch of food I cannot bear to eat (mostly Kitchens of India stuff: very delicious but all the ones I have include dairy) to a good home. The homemade frozen pizzas I cannot bear to not eat, given my blood, sweat and money that went into making them. So, I am finishing them up and I'll replace them with vegan varieties the next time I make pizza. I also have about half a huge tub of Earth Balance (veg, not vegan) that I'm trying to decide what to do with. Tossing it would be wasteful, but I bought it thinking it was vegan before finding out it wasn't (a month or so ago. It's a huge tub!).

Clothing: I haven't gone through it yet. I don't think I have much in the way of wool, etc. Maybe a couple belts and a leather top I bought second-hand for a bellydancing costume. That's going to go to one of my fellow dancers. I do have a coat that I am loathe to give away, and yet I feel guilty when I wear it so it's time to go. My winter coat is vegan (checked when I bought it last year).

Beauty Products/Makeup, etc: For now, my goal is to use what I have and replace it with vegan varieties when the time comes. Replacing everything with vegan alternatives gets expensive quickly, and I just can't afford to toss it all and start from scratch. Plus, that would be wasteful. Some of it may in fact be vegan without me knowing; I have yet to compare the companies' names to the PETA list.

Accessories: A little tougher. I'm unsure which of my winter scarves are wool or cotton. Some of them are second- or third-hand and I'm loathe to give them up, so I figure I'll get as much use out of them as possible and replace with vegan varieties when they do wear out. I do need to find some new, non-leather gloves. I'm able to keep most of my favorite purses as well. Yay, me! There's one I'm not sure of (the leather could be either real or fake... hard to tell and there is no label.)

Then there is the pashmina I bought in Italy a couple years ago. On the one hand, I can think of several people who would give it a good home. On the other, it is a very special souvenir to me and has sentimental value. I have not made a decision on this. I am thinking that I will keep it for that reason, and do my best to take excellent care of it so it can be passed on to future generations, thus lessening the impact. Maybe.

As I said, I'm transitioning. For every two steps I take, there may well be three back initially. But in going through my things and weeding out the animal materials for re-gifting or donating, I feel good about it. These things are going to people who need/want them and I'm taking a step forward for me.

I feel good about this.

Friday, November 6, 2009

On Cheese.

Okay, so not really. Vermont has a great independent paper called Seven Days, and this was out in the latest issue:

Grand Isle Slaughterhouse Closed Following Charges of Inhumane Treatment


For some reason, I always kind of thought Vermont was immune to this kind of thing. I talked myself into believing the Vermont dairy products were okay because the product was local and for the most part, accessible. You see dairy farms all over the place, but there are only a couple factory farms - the state is just too small to house them, for the most part.

But cruelty is cruelty and it can happen anywhere.

So why, why, why am I still eating dairy? Why am I still eating eggs? The few excuses I have are poor and self-centered. Because it tastes good; because when I go out to restaurants I want to be able to eat something.

Yeah, well. Is my comfort worth the price that poor calf paid? That any animal pays? No.

So, what? Throw out all the dairy products, and get rid of all my leather shoes? Um yeah, no. Being principled does not mean being wasteful.

It does, however, mean that I need to stop with the excuses and either cut out that stuff or just accept the fact that every time I buy a hunk of (oh that delicious) Cabot's Hunter's Special So-Sharp-It'll-Cut-You cheese, that a whole bunch of male calves were force-fed, held in tiny crates that inhibited movement, and cruelly killed for veal.

Do I really want to play a part in that?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interesting

I am discovering this evening that I still have some anger and hostility built up regarding something I'm going to be rather vague about. So, I apologize in advance to my few wonderful readers who have no idea what's going on.

It's been three months. Three quiet, blissful months where I'd found my happiness. Three months where I'd thought I'd let go of everything and moved on. And then....

The Call. The one that tries to suck you back in to the craziness. The one that, as you listen to it, sucks you right back to where you were a year ago and all the frustration and anger comes back like it never left.

The odd thing is, I'm still not entirely sure how to go about dispelling these feelings of anger and resentment. They built up for two years and dragged me further down than I realized at the time. I was in a terrible place and it was affecting every aspect of my life. I truly didn't realize until after I'd left. This tremendous weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That's when I realized that I hadn't been happy in two years. Two years of not feeling that emotion. Can you believe that? I can't.

I'm angry at them for making me feel this way. Perhaps I'm angry at myself for letting them make me feel this way. Words cannot express the dysfunction I left, because it was subtle and innocuous and easily missed. It was a general sensation of something being Not Right.

Things are Right now. I refuse to allow myself to be pulled back. Because all they need is an opening. Just a chink in the drywall. That's how it starts.

Well, I have news for you. I'm done, I'm gone, and I'm not coming back. The call went straight to voicemail. It is going to remain unreturned. There will be no guilt, because a returned call is a chink and we've caulked all those bad boys up.

And I'm going to find a way to release all this anger and resentment that is doing me no good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You Know What Would Be Fun?

Breathing would be fun. Oh yes it would. So would getting rid of this stoopid sinus headache. Because I know if I got rid of one the other would follow suit.

Grrr.

I am not sick, but I certainly ain't well. And this has been going on for at least a week and a half now. Just well enough to function like a normal human being, just off enough to be annoying.

Ugh.

Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead. You've been...