rooted, but still growing

  • My boss always brings me the local newspapers when he’s finished reading them. I should replace the word reading with butchering, because more often than not these papers contain large, gaping holes. He cuts out obituaries, articles, photos — anything that may in some small way relate to the company. The kicker? He also gives me the clipped articles.
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship, ESPN, and just about anything featured on Spike TV.
  • Their complete inability to clean toilets, showers and sinks.
  • My husband forgetting to pay the cell phone bill, then yelling at me because I didn’t answer my phone when he called.
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Can someone, anyone, please explain to me why I am so sleepy and unfocused lately?

Since I got married three weeks ago, I’ve been living in a semi-haze. At first I chalked it up to post-wedding letdown and figured I’d be back to normal after a few days and an extra z or two. When that didn’t happen, I thought maybe I just wasn’t getting enough sleep — but I’m in bed by 10 p.m. and usually enjoy a full eight hours.

I lamented this to my friends and the Facebook world, who all thought I surely must be pregnant. I’m not, though I will say that the fatigue has eased up with the arrival and departure of Aunt Flo.But I’m still tired, and my thoughts are all over the place. I’ve tried exercising, but that doesn’t seem to help, either. All I want to do is sleeeeeeeep.

Any ideas? I’m not dozing off behind the wheel or anything so I don’t think it’s quite serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor. It’s starting to seriously piss me off, though. I just want some energy!

Holy crap, it’s been a while!

I never intended to take such a long break from this-here blog … and I hate constantly using the excuse that “life got in the way.” Perhaps a better way to say it is that I got distracted. Yeah, that’s it, distracted … which is a way better word than lazy.

So anyway, I’m back. A lot has happened since March (I know! March!). The summer-time invasion of the stepsons came and went, and I’m rather disappointed by that because it certainly would have provided some good blog fodder. K1 arrived in late May and went back to North Dakota the first week of August. And here’s some big news — N is now living with us. Yes, that’s right, I am now a for-real, living, (fire)breathing stepmother. After much angst and changing of his mind since last December, he called Steve up out of the blue one day in mid-April and said he had finally decided to do it. And in mid-July, he did. Hilarity, chaos, and wicked stepmothering ensue.

And now for my next trick … I’m married. Despite his best efforts to flee, Steve and I tied the knot Aug. 1. We had an awesome wedding — relaxed and joyous and fun. In fact, it was so fun it probably actually was the best day of my life thus far.

Aaaannnnddd, I’m no longer a grad student. I. Finally. Finished. My. Master’s. Degree. Woot!

So that’s what’s been happening ’round these parts. Lots of big things this year. Oh-ho, but that doesn’t mean things are calm. Au contraire. And you can read all about it here, especially now that I promise to check back in on a very regular basis. So come back and see me soon!

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting on my front porch in a t-shirt and a pair of stretchy cotton gauchos. It’s in the upper 70s here today, breezy and comfortable, a welcome change from the below-freezing temperatures we endured earlier in the week. The weathermen say it will be like this all week and for once I’m choosing to ignore my wariness of local “meteorologists” and actually believe them. 

What a glorious day it’s been. We slept in, then got prettied up to have our engagement photos taken. Went out to lunch, strolled around downtown Marietta. Drove back to Parkersburg to our favorite liquor store for some whisky and wine. When we got home Steve lifted weights while I cleaned up the yard and tidied up Waylon’s kennel. Steve surprised me by asking to go for a walk, which ended up turning into a partial run. I haven’t been running like that in a loooong time and while it nearly killed me, I feel absolutely terrific right now. In a while I’m going to hop in the shower — we’re meeting some friends at a local bar to shoot the breeze and some pool. 

Again, what a glorious day. 

This is what I live for. Days where the pace is as slow and luxurious as you want it to be — no rushing, no fussing. Just being. Doing what you enjoy with people you enjoy.

I haven’t felt this way in quite a while. We don’t live in the upper midwest, but the winters in the Ohio Valley are hard. Dark. It takes a toll on even the strongest mind and body and I guess I’m just more susceptible to it than people who have lived here their entire lives.

I’m so grateful that things are looking up, getting warmer. It’s nice to simply sit on the porch and enjoy the wind. I’m thankful for my life. I’m thankful to be in this place. I’m thankful to just be.

So I’m back after a long but not planned hiatus. Between school, work, wedding planning and a general life-is-tailspinning-into-disaster-oh-my-god-I-have-to-fix-it era, I’m here again after about two months of just trying to get things figured out.

I’m not going to lie and say the past two months have been great. They haven’t. There has been quite a bit of challenge and struggle, of trying to survive and grow. That isn’t to say I’m in the depths of despair, just that the past few weeks/months have been rather rough. I blame part of it on the weather — I’ve never lived in a gloomier place, and this winter seems to have decided to stay far past its welcome. Today is the first in I don’t know how long that it’s been sunny and relatively warm out there.

And the other problems lie in personality clashes, blame games, fear and, ironically, a lot of love. That love thing, it’s tough you know. Sometimes I think it causes more trouble than its worth.

As it stands, I’m getting married in about five months. I’ve been doing some thinking lately about what a marriage should be like. I know there are thousands of books, therapists, preachers and self-help gurus out there who would be more than willing to tell me what makes a good marriage. But in the end, I’m not going to be married to those people. A marriage is comprised of just two — and as one of those two I need to get my shit together and figure out what it is I expect and, more importantly, what I expect to contribute.

Steve and I aren’t traditional people. We’ve seen too many marriages based on tradition and religion fail. The ones based on finances don’t typically do too well, either. Someone always winds up hanging on to the short end of the stick — and it’s usually covered in poo.

Marriage isn’t about equals. Yes, the two are equal in the sense of humanity. But very rarely are they equals in age, experience, income, or responsibility. Attempting to take two individuals and meld them into one isn’t only physically but also emotionally impossible. Each has to remain his/her own person, else there will always be feelings of jealousy and resentment. It just won’t work.

And yet that’s what I’ve been trying to do — and I stand here now completely unsurprised that it hasn’t worked. Rather, I’m more embarrassed and incredulous to discover that I even tried it in the first place. Color me stupid.

I guess for me, marriage is about loving and supporting each other. It’s two separate lives shared on an intimate level. It’s enjoying each other’s company, sharing common interests, taking good care of one another. It’s having the other person’s back. Helping them through the tough stuff. Growing old together. Knowing each other in a way no one else does. Making decisions together. Respect. Compromise.

Giving up control.

Ah, control. That’s a difficult one for me. I don’t know where I obtained this personality trait, but it’s quite honestly the bane of my existence.  I simply must learn to give up control — or to realize I never had it to begin with. Add that to the list of things to work on in 2009.

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to examine things objectively. I haven’t done very well with that lately, either. Instead, much of my focus has been on protecting myself and my interests, all else be damned. It’s made me angry and fearful — turned me into a person I wouldn’t like very well. I’m too defensive. Again, I need to learn to let things go. Stop manipulating, and just let it all be. Quit worrying.

It’s a challenge, true. There is much to work on. But I approach it knowing I can do it and, even better, wanting to do it. I want this for me, and I desperately want this for Steve.

I know I’m not perfect and I never will be. What I *can* do is try to get as close as possible, to live the best life possible, to love as hard as possible. And this gives me a renewed sense of purpose — and faith that it will only get better from here.

I realize that January 12 is a bit late to be discussing New Year resolutions. However, I truly believe 2009 will be not just another good year, but a spectacular one filled with exciting events and milestones in my life and those of my family and friends.

I’m a believer in resolutions. The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to reflect on life, the future, and the goals we hope to accomplish in our lives.  I don’t think we do this often enough, as we get caught up in the daily distractions that come with just living. It’s a good idea, though, to pause once in a while just to make sure we’re on track and living as best as we can.

It’s taken me this long to write about my resolutions because I wanted to be very careful to start 2009 with good, clear, achievable and meaningful goals. I didn’t want to follow the same old “lose weight” or frivolous “start wearing a bra” (thanks, Cameron Diaz) routes that so many people lay claim to each year. This year is a big one for me, and I want to do it right.

If I had to choose a theme for my resolutions, it would be wellness. I want to be good to myself — better than I’ve been to me in a long time. And yes, that does include losing weight. But it’s more than that — I want to pursue excellence. In everything I do, from my body to my job to my relationships.

And it starts with my health. I’m not proud to say that the scales have recently revealed a number higher than I’ve ever seen, or that I often stay up too late doing things that are either insignificant or can be done at a later time, like watching tv or reading. And so I’ve made a commitment to myself that I will watch what I eat, make an effort to exercise, and get more sleep. I’m about a week strong into this (although I could definitely work in more exercise) and I’ve already noticed a major difference in my energy level and my ability to focus throughout the day. These alone are big motivators, and I’m sure I’ll be even more encouraged once the numbers start dropping. My impending nuptials are also a good kick in the pants — I do want to be a fit, healthy bride.

I want to go the extra mile at work, and really start learning things that will help me succeed. I’m about to celebrate one year in my current job, and things are going well. But it’s time for the “learning curve” to end and to start feeling more comfortable in my role and etching out my own ideas.  I don’t want to be a satisfactory employee. I want to be exemplary.

Relationships. I think I do a fairly good job with this one, but one can always be a better fiancee, friend, daughter, sister, whatever. I want to speak in love and compassion, help when and where I’m needed, and give without expecting. I am blessed with a wonderful family and truly amazing friends, and I want to make sure I’m able to keep them for a long, long time.

And, ah, yes, money. This one’s easy — quit spending on unnecessary stuff. Put more in savings.

I’m excited about the future. This year holds many adventures, and I’m looking forward to them all. The hardest part will be remaining patient — it’s all going to be so good that I’ll hardly be able to wait.

Now that’s a good problem to have.

I’ve read some ridiculous obituaries, but this opening paragraph takes the cake:

“It was on the wings of death at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, that Helen Louise Neely’s living soul took flight from Holbrook Nursing Home into the promised land of our God where there is no night.”

It would suck if death really did have wings. I hate birds.