Redhead, nurse, sister, daughter, aunt, newly-ex-wife, sucker for lost animals, currently owned by Percy the cat and Spencer the dog. In the middle of some major changes–trying to figure out what I want so I can figure out how to get there.

Archive for October, 2010

Not all stepmothers are monsters

I generally don’t talk about sex on my blog (here or the old one).  That isn’t going to change.  However, there is a story that requires me to mention it.

I was in college when I decided to have sex for the first time.  I went to the health center and got on the pill.  I ignored all my (sexually active) friends who tried to talk me out of it.  I was 20 years old, madly in love with my boyfriend, and figured it was time.  (No regrets, but that is not what this story is about.)

I was shopping with my stepmother a week or so before the planned event.  We were in the lingerie section of Macy’s, and I found this absolutely gorgeous peachy/pink satin teddy.  There was an equally gorgeous robe that went with it, but I was a poor college student, so it wasn’t in my budget.  J saw what I was buying, and didn’t bat an eyelash (I have no idea what thoughts she had about if I was already having sex or not).  She said, “Why aren’t you getting the robe?  You can’t get the teddy without the robe.”  I explained that it just wasn’t going to happen if I wanted to eat for the rest of the month.  She thought for about 10 seconds, and then put the robe on the counter with her other items.  She glared at me and said, “Just for the record, if your father ever finds out about this, I will deny it.  And, I am buying you the modest part, anyway.”

Yesterday was the 12 year anniversary of J’s death (fairly suddenly at age 54).  I’m sure that my father is not anywhere near over it.  I thought it apt to share one of my favorite stories of her with you.

Happy Halloween


“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Berthold Auerbach

I have loved the above quote since I first heard it, and it certainly has proven true to me this week. 

 As I had mentioned, this week was tough for me at work, as well as at life.  On some levels I am plodding forward.  I am so much happier in Atlanta than I was in Houston.  That doesn’t put me on easy street, however.  I am still dealing with the failure of my marriage.  I am still still struggling with  my relationship with my ex.  I so desperately want to come through this with a friendship–a real one.  It hurts me to hear the sadness in his voice. 

For these and so many other reasons, going out Friday to  my old music haunt for the first time since I got back to Atlanta was a big deal.  I almost thought I was making too much of a deal of it, in fact.  I was so excited that the possibility of disappointment was real.  However, disappointment was not in the cards.

I had to change and fluff and go straight from work.  I thought I was late, but I was trying desperately not to fret about it.  I ran up the stairs and saw Eddie–he is no longer the owner, but the joint still bears his name…so to me he is the personification of a place I love.  “Are the doors already open?”  I asked.  “Nope, you are just in time–10 minutes to go.”   I breathe a sigh of relief and go onto the patio to wait.  “Hello, Sophie,”  I hear.  Looking up, I see the performers of the evening.  Talented musicians I am now fortunate enough to consider friends.  Hugs all around.  Then I see Tommy–he has a real job, but works at Eddie’s one night or so a week at the merch table.  “Are you back, or just visiting?”  he says.  I reply that I am back, “Houston didn’t work out so well for me.”  I am always unsure how exactly to answer this.  I am an honest-out there-don’t really care who knows my business kind of girl, but I also realize that some people want less than I might be willing to offer.  We catch up a bit, and then my phone rings.  It is a dear friend, calling to give me the results of her mammogram-her six months after treatment for breast cancer mammogram–All Clear she says.  We celebrate a moment, then I cut her off abruptly, “Love you to pieces. , but the music is going to start in about 1.5 minutes–gotta run.”   I dash into the music room (almost forgetting to stop and get my hand stamped), slip into a seat without a moment to spare.

Ellis has about 9 albums to his credit, and earlier this year took on the project of relearning  them os and playing them over a number of shows at his home venue in Boston.  Friday he is playing his first two–start to finish.  These are the two CDs I purchased the first night I heard him in 1994.  From the first notes, I am transported back.  There are a few songs that continue in his playing rotation, but many of them have not wandered across my consciousness in ages.  He is the first singer/songwriter I fell in love with (musically, of course), and that chance encounter has made profound changes in my life.  Hearing the early music takes me back to that first show–I knew at the time it was important–but had no idea exactly how important.  I am relaxed, I am content, I am happy.

The scheduled opener had flight difficulties and couldn’t make it.  Therefore, Don (who was there as a side-man for Ellis) played a set in her absence.  I will refrain from sending her a thank-you card, but I considered it.  Bittersweet–Don was the musician who graciously allowed my husband to propose to me on that very stage.  Our lives are entertwined–the good and the not so good all blended together–but oh how I adore that man.

My friends joined me for the second show, and catching up a bit was great.  They are friends with my ex as well, and I know it is tough to maintain friendships with us both, so I appreciate it even more.

I called several friends during the show to give them “phoners,”  trying to pick the  perfect song for each.  I connect with them as I connect with the music.  I stayed out until almost 3  in the morning-despite having awoken at 6–exhausted but worth every minute.

The show didn’t make my life perfect.  I still have all the same challenges that I did before it started.  However, It left me stronger, refreshed, and hopefully more prepared to face what I will face in the upcoming week.  Hard to ask for much more than that from an evening out.

Perchance to dream

I am determined not to make this a blog about the pitiful redhead getting a divorce, battling depression, and so freaking tired all the time.  However, I had a couple of days this week that were so crappy they need to be documented.

I have a significant, medical sleeping issue.  I’m not sure what the actual diagnosis is, but when I was still in Houston, I could sleep for hours and still be exhausted.  Thing is, when you are also as depressed as you have ever been in your life, it’s hard to figure out which box the symptoms fit into.  At one point, the depression seemed to improve, but the sheer exhaustion just wouldn’t go away.  When I started falling asleep at stoplights, the search for answers got a bit more intense.  My primary care doc ran all the usual tests for “fatigue” and decided that it was not thyroid, iron, cortisol levels, etc.  The next logical step was a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea.  It was one of the most miserable nights of my life.  They hooked me up to a million wires, a microphone, and I don’t remember what else.  Then I was supposed to sleep.  When the test results came back, they confirmed what I already knew:  no sleep apnea.  However, I did only sleep 49% of the time I was assigned to sleep.  And when I did sleep, I rarely reached what they called Level 4 sleep.  Evidently this is the level where your body restores itself.  So, while I was sleeping many hours, my body didn’t really give a shit because it wasn’t the good kind of sleep.

I have been on many, many sleeping pills, and I now take Nuvigil which is a stimulant typically given to people with narcolepsy.  It has become clear that I now need to address the sleeping issues again.  I slept through the alarm for an hour and ten minutes on Tuesday.  I got to work late, ran my ass off without lunch until 2 hours past my scheduled departure time.  Then I ran out the door to get to my appointment with my therapist on time.  I need the therapy,  and I surely don’t need to pay for a missed session.  I had a great session, then went to the car to return to work to finish what was unfinished. Then I noticed I had a flat tire.  Fortunately, two very kind gentlemen helped me change the tire.  It took them far less time and far fewer curse words than if I had been forced to change it myself.  Somehow, I managed to keep a sense of humor about it–I mean it was like a stupid soap opera or something.

Then, I overslept on Wednesday.  My boss is very supportive and understanding, but evidently HR has taken a near “zero tolerance” approach to tardiness lately.

So, yesterday I got out the alarm I had used in Houston–an alarm made for deaf people.  Yes, that is what I wrote.  DEAF people.  I used it because it had a function that vibrates the bed to wake you, and that was less intrusive to my husband who didn’t have to get up as early as I did.  It also has an incredibly high volume level, and you can adjust the tone to a particular frequency depending on your hearing issues.  I set it to the most obnoxious level and went to bed.  When it went off, I was certain that we were being attacked by aliens.  The dog and cat were entirely unamused.  However, I did make it to work on time today–and that was the whole point.

Tomorrow I get to see a redheaded buddy I haven’t seen since I returned to Atlanta–at my favorite live music venue with two of my favorite friends/musicians performing.  I might be tired, but I will be happy.

I think I’m actually going to do it this time…

…and by “do it,” I mean get a tattoo.  I have gone back and forth about this for many years.  I have entered at least three tattoo parlours with possible intentions.  (One was kinda scary and late at night in Las Vegas, so I’m glad I didn’t “do it” there.  While alcohol might be involved in the process, I don’t think it should be an integral portion of the decision making.

The tattoo I want to get is an elephant.  When I was a kid, I remembered just about everything, and Mother started calling me an elephant, as they are said to have excellent memories.  That started the collecting as a child.  While the collection has been downsized a bit, I still am so glad to have it.  The items I have from each of my Grandmothers are elephants.  One is a teapot, the other a rather large ceramic one brought by my great aunt from Viet Nam.

Here is the dilemma:  The elephant must be simple enough to fit on my ankle.  The elephant cannot resemble the republican party symbol.  The elephant must have its trunk up (as trunks down are considered unlucky in some cultures, and frankly, why risk it?)  The elephant can’t be too cutesie like Dumbo–nor can it be too realistic looking as I fear that would require a larger piece of my pelt than I want to involve.

Last night I looked at a gazillion (or so) elephants, and actually had better luck than I had had in the past.  If wordpress allows me, I will include them here for feedback.  At least one of them is in color (blue), if my elephant is in color it will be dark purple.   Please be brutally honest about what you think.  This will end up on my “permanent record” so to speak.  I welcome any additional pictures you might find.  I also need to know what a chicken-shit nurse (it is a proven fact that redheads experience more pain than the general population–perhaps that is why we inflict it as well) needs to know about how to choose a tattoo artist.  I’m thinking that the dudes and chicks at Miami Ink are already booked way far out.

Here are the ones I have so far…

What the Hell Happens Next?

I’m completely sure that I don;t know the answer to that question.

I guess I should start with some updates.  I am safely ensconced in Poppa’s extra room.  It isn’t homey, it isn’t mine, it is incredibly generous of him, and the price is right.  Spencer drags my fat behind down two flights of stairs at least three times a day to go to the bathroom, but I must give him credit for having the process down to a science:  pee just short of the ivy so it drains down the gutter, then poop in the ivy (most times) unless he just can’t manage to take that extra step and the poop rolls down the hill.  Then I must find a large enough leaf with which to retrieve said rolling poop and toss it into the ivey–lest I be cussed at byt the woman with two dogs who are not friendly yet still not leashed, and it is clearly my fault when Spencer approaches them.  We will both be much happier when we have a fenced yard again.

The papers for the divorce were filed 2 weeks ago.  In Texas, that means we will be legally over in about 6 weeks.  I changed my Facebook status and picture, and opened a new checking account.  I will be going next week to get my Georgia license which will then allow me to register the car.  (And be called for jury duty within 6 months–I’ll buy you all a chocolate bar if it doesn’t happen).  We have an offer on the house in Houston, but it is a short sale so the bank must approve it.  It seems highly unlikely that it will not be approved, but waiting for them to jump through all the hoops is a bit of a drag.  We are both trying hard to be more than civil to each other, but it is very difficult not to let ego and emotion get in the way.   That about covers the technicalities.  As for the rest of it…

I had an appointment with my wonderful, awesome therapist Susan last week.  I have seen her off and on since my early 20’s, and I think I put at least one kid through college.  She now has a grandchild.  After having difficulty finding a therapist I connected with in Houston, it was such a relief to talk to somebody who I know gets me and wil be able to help me.  My current plan is to see her for a bit and then look into tweaking my meds.  I’m on an anti-depessant that is evidently difficult to wean off of, and I keep wishing that the chemicals in my brain will magically start to work together rather than against me.  I haven’t had a panic attack since returning to Atlanta, and that is wonderful.  I continue to have an extreme aversion to falling asleep at a decent time which makes the 5:40 alarm clock my sworn enemy for life.  I have taken nearly every sleeping pill in the universe over the last few years, but nothing is working at the moment.  I do have a call in to my shrink from Houston who is covering my prescriptions until I transition to a doctor here.  Another thing on my list to do this week.

I am hanging in there.  Most days are okay, and some of them suck royally.  I figure that is about par for the course given that it has been only 11 weeks since I packed the car.  If I were all sunshine and light, it wouldn’t seem to genuine.  I do feel less depressed than when I was in Houston, but I am incredibly sad.  I think I am doing a good job of not blaming myself or beating myself up, but I do struggle with it.  There were warning signs that in retrospect I wish I had seen.  Oh well.  Some life lessons are tougher than others. 

Work is tough.  It is physically harder than what I was doing in Houston, and I am working late nearly every day.  I thankfully do get paid for this time, but I would rather have the time for myself.  Hopefully I will figure out a way to become more efficient in the upcoming weeks.

The twins’ mother has made an amazing recovery.  She is awake, has most of her memory back, and is at home.  She still has lots to do before she is anywhere near “well,” but awake and knowing the girls is good enough for me.

I didn’t have it in me to write an actual post about it, but the suicide of Tyler Clementi and others has me outraged and completely saddened.  I have reached out to a couple of organizations in the hopes of doing some volunteer work with gay/lesbian/transgendered teens.  I don’t exactly feel like I have the energy, but I also think that taking action will help me feel less outraged and being productive should help my depression.

Thanks much for the support.  You guys have been an important part of my life–even though I haven’t been around much of late.  I’m thinking that writing down how I am thinking, feeling, and doing is likely a good idea.  Plus–I want to get back connected like I once was.  Love you all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.