Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Better and better and better

My body feels better than it has for a very long time. If I knit and my hands start to hurt, I go to bed, and I wake up with no pain, where before the pain might last for weeks. My doctor touched my shoulders and was amazed how great they felt. They were frozen solid 2 years ago, and have been mildy stiff at least since then. My posture hasn't been great, but now my body is like it was when I was younger. It can withstand a little more abuse and recover quickly.

After I had my surgery, I decided me and my body were friends again. I recovered quickly physically from surgery, so we made up. I've been treating it better by stretching and drinking water and taking supplements.

I went running Sunday and am hardly sore at all. My back doesn't hurt.

I've been sleeping better. I can sleep on my side again without feeling pain. I don't need 3 pillows anymore. I'm calmer, happier, more attentive. I'm not perfect: I still have my moods, but generally I have much more energy than before. I thought I had some kind of chronic illness before, but I realize now it was just too much stress. I've rethought my life and my routine, and it's all sort of working out. Praise God!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pescadero


Raybon and I drove to Pescadero yesterday to have lunch at Duarte's. I guess it is kind of a long drive just for food. It is just nice to get out of town, though, I think. We are an old married couple, but in some ways when we do things like that it is a bit like we're dating again, becaue we are making it a point of spending time together. I think when we were dating, our relationship revolved around food. We went out to eat a lot. I think in trying to save money and watch our waistlines, we haven't been able to do that as much.

There is that part in Pulp Fiction where Mia and Vince talk about how you know you have something good with someone when you can sit in silence with them. Raybon and I just sat and enjoyed our food. I hope he had a nice time, too. The drive up the coast was nice, too.

Raybon asked me if I'd like to go to Fry's and the hardware store with him afterwards, and I refused. I was like "You can't ask me out on a date and then drag me to Fry's with you." Instead, we headed back to Flip Flop, and I went underwear shopping, and Raybon went to the hardware store. Buying underwear is still a little bit embarrassing for me. Not as much as it was before I got married, but just a tiny bit.

I went home and made dinner for us and Oxy. Yes, Oxy. I often make food for people who just had babies, but Oxy is pressed for time because of grad school, so I decided I'd make something for her, too. Knitting and cooking for others is therapeutic for me. I probably get more satisfaction from it than the people I make stuff for. I wonder if this is a basic maternal urge I've only recently tapped into. I guess I've always had the cooking thing, but the knitting thing is more recent. The people at my work think of my baking as a mixed blessing. I get as many curses as Thank You's. Too many women at my work I guess. Just one guy. Maybe I should just put the cookies in his office.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Weekly update

I've been swimming with a new club. I'll call it Mellow Masters for now. I'm pretty happy with it. It is hard to adjust to a different coach and a different style of workouts, but I'm just going to have to trust it and see how it bears out in my results.

The coach is super nice. The website is very professional looking, so I thought it might be kind of a professional, super competitive team, but people are just nice, nice, nice so far. Professionalism is definitely a good thing when it comes to club swimming.

I've been working more lately. My body has felt better. Generally, I feel a lot less stress. I enjoy going into work. I like my coworkers. It was lonely working at home, so I'm glad I'm feeling better and able to go in more. I like my job. For a long time I didn't, but I've been working on more interesting stuff lately. The projects I've been working on seem less like B.S. to me, which makes me happy. I've been working on the website, and making maps of species locations, both of which are interesting and rewarding.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things I'm Glad I'm Not

This may seem a little petty and stupid, but I just felt like I needed to do this to feel better about myself. I identify with all sorts of neurotic and sinful behavior, but these are things I am not:

1. A murderer
2. An alcoholic
3. A bulimic
4. A nymphomaniac
5. An anorexic
6. A kleptomaniac
7. A drug addict
8. An adultress
9. A rapist
10. A child molester
11. A sadist
12. A torturer

They did this thing on "This American Life" about the concept of "that guy." As in "I don't want to be that guy." You think of a type of person that you never want to be, and you think you never could be that person, and then all of a sudden you are that person. That gossip, that flirt, that bitch, that bully, that ham, that hopeless dork (well, that is one thing I've never kidded myself about not being.) The above things are all things I feel safe to say I am not and will never be, but who knows? Drug addict? Alchoholic? Bulimic? Could happen... It's happened to better people than me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cole Porter

For the last couple of weeks, about the only thing I've been listening to is Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter song book. I think it has been satisfying my seeming need for drama in my life. I'm a drama queen, but although the songs are all about romantic drama, listening to it has the opposite effect of making me less dramatic. I'm happy being a homebody: knitting and cooking and cleaning and being Raybon's wife and Willow's mommy.

Rest in Peace, Asha

One of the clerks at a market I frequent in the Flip Flop Mountains was found dead Thursday. It isn't often that someone I know so casually makes such a deep impression on me. She was really a genuinely sweet person. She sold me the yarn for the first scarf I ever made, and seemed really interested in me and my new hobby. It's so sad that someone with such a good heart could die tragically. She was 6 months pregnant. It makes me mad to think that someone could have done this to her. I hope she has found happiness in heaven.

Do a Good Turn Daily

I haven't been blogging much, because I've been busy with one of my old obsessions: knitting. Knitting is very therapeutic for me. I made a hat for Baby K. This is my first hat ever. I asked Oceana and N-Dawg if they would like me to knit something for him. I told them I was a beginning knitter. I said I'd like to make a hat, but N-Dawg said a scarf would be fine. I took this as a challenge of, course, so I made the baby hat from my stich and bitch book.

Yesterday was a nice day. Raybon and I helped V. load up her U-Haul. She is unfortunately moving to the city, but I hope I will be able to see her still. Helping her move was not much work, and both Raybon and I had fun I think. I think we both like being helpful: it is one of the things we have in common.

We went to the beach to meet Oxy and her roomie at a little liquor store/deli/cafe in East Flip Flop. It's a funny little place where a lot of surfer's frequent. It doesn't look like they would have good food, but it is pretty decent. We got there early, and sat on a bench watching the waves and the surfers. There was a "Pack-Your-Trash" tent set up near the store, and Raybon said he might want a "Pack-Your-Trash" sweatshirt. I told him he should ask them how much they were, but he is shy about that kind of thing, so he asked me to. I went to the tent, and they told me it was Annual Beach Clean-up Day all over the world, and asked me if I'd like to volunteer. I went back and talked a somewhat reluctant Raybon into it. We picked up a bunch of trash along a creek near the beach. We found a lot of random stuff, from flip-flops to flea collars. We got back in time to hang out with Oxy and her roomie for a bit. We thought we might miss them, and I thought Raybon would be upset about it, but he ended up being happy to clean up the beach, despite his initial reluctance.

I used to think that who we are is defined by our initial reactions to things. Maybe who we are is all about the choice we end up making, even if we are talked into it, or have to talk ourselves into it. I judge Raybon as being selfish when he initially responds selfishly to my requests, but maybe I should just be happy with him if in the end I am able to talk him into doing the right thing.

I think in a crisis, it is our initial reactions that define our choices, unfortunately. Is it fair to judge people by how they act when they have to make a quick decision, or are afraid? Does lack of courage make all other values meaningless? I used to think, if you don't have courage, you don't have anything. You can't have integrity if you don't have courage, because you won't be able to act according to you values when you have to stand up for them when you feel threatened. Maybe it isn't fair to judge people by their reactions in a crisis. That makes for a very harsh morality. We all are presented with situations that are at times too much for us to deal with. It should make us more merciful when we see others in those types of situations.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marriage...or what?

I've been married since I was 23 years old. I've been in the same relationship since I was 21. I'm now 31. I've spent almost my entire adult life in the same relationship. Before I dated Raybon, and I had one serious relationship that lasted 5 months, and a couple of long drawn out stupid "I like you/you like me, what the hell are we doing?" things.

Marriage is hard. It is at times heart breaking. Sometimes I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the way our society is structured that makes it very hard to be married. Women look to marriage for so much of their fulfillment. Our identities are wrapped around the health and depth of our romantic relationships. Men are ill equipped to fulfill our desires to be deeply known and loved.

There are times when I think I should have waited until I got older to get married. But when I look at people my age who aren't married or who waited until they got a little older, I'm not sure they are any better off than I am. The ones who have recently gotten married or entered long term relationships do so with the same leap of faith that I made when I was young.

It's hard. We don't know what we want or need, until we are in a relationship and find it isn't there. Men are raised to be stubborn and out of touch with their feelings. Women want more than that. I read that women file 2/3 of divorces, and it isn't for the reasons you might think. Mostly it is because their husbands ignore them. In movies you see women leave their husbands when they are cheated on, which almost anyone can sympathize with. To me, this almost seems like a red herring. Mostly, women feel like they can't complain to their husbands about their inability to meet their needs, but even those of us who do, often hit a brick wall anyways when they try. Men are boneheads.

We only get small glimpses into other people's experiences of relationships, unfortunately. People are rarely completely honest, and for good reason probably. People are judgmental, and don't always treat other people's hearts with care, so maybe there is some wisdom in not overexposing our relationships.

I see some women who have aren't married and go from relationship to relationship. A lot of them don't really seem better off than me. They seem hardened. They seem fiercely competitive with other women for the attention of men. They use their sexuality as a weapon, to get the attention of men, and to compete with other women. My heart is broken, but I realize looking at them that there is a type of heartache I have been spared. Which is worse? I guess I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking it is probably theirs.

Not all unmarried women are like this. I have some friends my age and older who have dated very little, and there is something beautiful about their innocence, but also something very sad about what has been missing in their lives. (Um, to be blunt, sex? Maybe more.) Even the ones who have dated a lot more than I have aren't all like the ones I described in the paragraph above. What makes them different? Self respect? Love from other people and God? Forgiveness? I've often thought that the thing that keeps an unmarried, sexually active woman from being a slut is self-respect and the ability to love. Dating can be very degrading. A lot of men are more than willing to use women and treat them with no care whatsoever. I try to be open minded about other people's choices, but I'm going to make an absolute statement and say sex should always be done with care and respect. Thankfully, we can always learn to forgive ourselves and find God's forgiveness, and find love from others, God, and ourselves no matter what our past choices have been.

I guess we never get to know other people's stories, and never get to know what would have happened if we took a different path. We all make our own path in this culture. There is no book, no multiple choice test, or checklist to tell us what our choices have to be. I wish I knew more, but am doing my best fumbling about in the dark, with faith, hope, and love.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Soooo tiiired

It's not even 8 yet, and I am in my pajamas ready to go to bed. Don't tell my dentist, who I have an appointment with next week, but I'm not even going to brush my teeth or floss.

I've been not quite as good at my Things To Do Everyday For the Rest of My Life lately. I think Hendrik's swim and my brother's visit threw me off a little bit.

I almost hit a tree today driving to see Oceana's baby, I was so tired. It must be PMS. I can't imagine what else it might be. I was kind of zombie when I got to her house.

I saw Oceana and N-Dawg's beautiful new baby boy. Oceana is doing very well, for those of you who know her. I was surprised to see her up and walking and smiley. She's amazing. She had a hard labor. She joked that after having accomplished a 30 hour hard labor, she doesn't have to swim the English Channel anymore. I can see her point. At first I thought, well you didn't have a choice but to not quit. But she did. She could have had a C-section or epidural, but she didn't want one. She's a brave, strong person, which I guess I always knew about her.

I swam at M.P. Masters today. I am going to try swimming with their club for the next couple of months at least, and see how that goes. Swimming with the Mountain Masters definitely has it's pluses in terms of getting my own lane and doing what I want to do, so if I don't like swimming in M.P., I may go back. I've been getting lonely at home, though, so I may try working in M.P. 3 days a week and swimming when I work there. Hmmmm... Let's weigh my options:

Swimming at Mountain Masters:
1. Get my own lane
2. Nice people
3. Close to home
4. 75 minute workout
5. Still part of my home club, to which I am loyal, Flip Flop Masters
6. Cheaper
7. Can swim in the morning, instead of when the sun is at it's highest.

Swimming at Menlo Masters:
1. Really good coach
2. Nice people (seems like it so far)
3. Harder workouts (at least as far as I can tell, but we'll see)
4. Workouts tailored towards competition, not just fitness
5. Shorter drive (2 minutes vs 15)
6. Won't get lonely working at home if I go into the office more
7. Showers and locker room

Really, other than the sun being too high at noon when I'd swim at M.P., I think that weighing my options, I feel like M.P. is the way to go. Skin cancer is a problem in my family, and quite frankly, I worry about premature aging. I wonder if I slather on the BullFrog, if I'll be fine. The other thing I worry is that my back won't be happy with the extra driving into work.

I told the coach at M.P. I would join his club. After I got in my car and drove back to work, my eyes teared up. I'll miss Flip Flop Masters. I guess it will still be there if I decide to go back. Swimming there was in some ways a joy and a burden. I am afraid to get attached to M.P. Masters. The showers and locker room are small, which makes for a convienient excuse for showering at my work instead of there. I just want to get in and swim and not bond with people. I hope people don't think I'm stuck up.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Secret to Life


I think Wilford Brimley may have been right. The secret to life is eating oatmeal every morning. I used to hate oatmeal, but I try to eat it as much as I can now. It balances out my blood sugar first thing in the morning, and I feel a lot better throughout the whole day.

It's the right thing to do.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Elwood and Rose

My brother Elwood and his fiancee Rose have come to visit. They live in Seattle and came to Flip Flop to plan the wedding they are going to have here next year. They met in Flip Flop and went to school here, and believe it is a nice centrally located place for the guests they intend to have for their wedding. Right now they are out looking at a florist and tasting wedding cakes. Raybon drove them down to Flip Flop proper from our house in the Mountains, and is sitting at a coffee shop reading while they do their stuff. That is something Raybon likes to do. Just hang out downtown. I'm a little beat still, so I'm glad for the quiet here. I may meet up with them later.

I picked them up on Thursday night from the airport. They borrowed my car on Friday and drove down to the place where they think they may have their wedding. What did we do Friday night? Oh yeah, we went to our favorite Sushi place in Flip Flop, and then to Saturn for dessert. I like my brother's fiance a lot. We like a lot of the same things and hate a lot of the same things. We both love dogs. We both hate bitchy, skanky women who use their looks to get attention from men. She has a vulnerability that I can relate to. When I first met her, I told my brother he should marry her because she is smart, cool, funny, nice, and pretty. I'm glad they are engaged and hope they live happily ever after.

It's fun seeing my brother and Rose interact. I usually see him in his role as my younger brother, so it's cool seeing him interact with Rose. He'll ask her pointed questions like "Do you really have a bad feeling about this place [where we are having the wedding]?" Such a grownup! He he. I mean he's 28 years old, for goodness sakes.

Last night we went to the Boardwalk. That was a lot of fun. We went on 3 rides. One ride where you spin around lying prone, like Superman. We went on the Giant Dipper and a Log Ride, where some of us got wetter than others. I called Rose my sister, and we walked arm in arm a little bit. I wish I took pictures. I think we all had a nice time.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tired

I'm exhausted. I've worked hard and nervously on Hendrik's website this week. Monday, he was hit by porn spammers, so I spent a good part of the day installing security to counteract that. Tuesday, I was up most of the night trying to update people on his swim. Today, I finished up by posting the path of his swim from GPS coordinates they'd taken, and putting up pictures of him and his crew. I picked my brother up very late last night, too, so I'm kind of antsy and sleep deprived. Nothing that one good night's sleep won't fix, I realize, but I feel kind of crappy today. I emailed Hendrik to tell him about some of the obstacles I've faced getting his site done, because I largely did it for him, and thought he should know about my effort. I feel like kind of an ass about it though. He's a nice guy who has been very appreciative of my work, and I don't want my complaining to diminish the work I've done to show my support. I emailed him again to apologize, which made me feel better, but also felt like I was further exposing my neuroses. Oh well. I keep telling myself jokingly and dramatically "And now...I fade...into the distance....", which makes me laugh at myself, and also lets me know that this really isn't about me.

Blogger's Regret (Apologies to Camille)

The post below seems a little embarrassing now that I read it again. It is a lot like that Whitney Houston song, which I always thought was a little cliched and cheesy. I think that everything I wrote was deeply meaningful to me, but I'm not sure how much it would mean to anyone else. I think epiphanies are like that. If you hear it, before you're ready, it just sounds like a cliche, because you've heard lots of other people talk about the same epiphany they've had at some point in their life. Or maybe you've gone past it years ago, so it seems immature.

Also, the thing embarrassing about the post is the broad generalizations it makes based on just a couple of weeks experience. Is this a real epiphany, or just a good mood? Is it just a temporary balance in seratonin levels I've achieved, or a real change in my thought processes? We'll see. I still need heroes. My friend are my heroes, everyday people who I see tremendous good in, despite their faults. They inspire me and encourage me and make me think differently about the world. I'm a nut, and a little third party perspective will always be necessary. I think what becomes problematic is when you only have one hero. It is kind of like in that movie "About a Boy" (which I just saw again on TV.) Two people isn't enough. You need more.