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June 30th, 2012
03:26 pm

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One year later
On Monday, I found out that my ex got a job, local and with a decent salary. I was so excited that I jumped up and danced around, telling co-workers. This means that I will have help paying the child care costs – yes, that still has to be ironed out, but it will happen. So it is a huge relief, financially speaking.

At the same time, I had this feeling that we should have been celebrating this together, G and me. If we were still together, finally we would have two full incomes and we’d be able to afford the things we haven’t been able to for years: vacations, going out to eat now and then, see a play, take the whole family to a movie, buy a new item of clothing even if it is full price, just because I want to. This was the day we have been waiting for for ten years, the day things would finally “get better.” I found myself wondering if I hadn’t made a big mistake, thrown in the towel when I should have just hung in there another year.

Set aside, for the moment, the abuse and ugliness he has displayed this past year (which makes reconciliation inconceivable, believe me). I felt I should have been celebrating this achievement with him, and benefiting from it (which I will, but not in the same way). After all, I have made many sacrifices in the pursuit of this goal.

It took me a while to come back to the truth: This job wouldn’t have solved all our problems. Here’s an image that illuminates the situation for me. A friend and I drove past a family walking on the sidewalk, and my friend said What’s up with that Dad, walking ahead of everyone else, while the Mom is carrying one child and herding the other? And I said, that’s exactly what G used to do. That was my family, before, in so many ways. And getting a job wouldn’t have changed that. Maybe counseling? I don’t know. I do know that I had been giving everything I could give to that marriage for ten years and I didn’t have anything left to give it anymore.

I am happier now and more myself than I have been for a long time. At the same time, now that I have blocks of time to myself, while the children are at G’s, I am encountering my grief, regret, emotions about the end of this relationship that I think I simply didn’t have the time and space to process, while I was still dealing with the stress of his hostile presence in the house and caring for the children nearly fulltime. Time and space, I’m finding, also means having the time to sit and cry, finally.

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March 28th, 2012
09:38 pm

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Three nights of dreams

Night 1. The disturbing
My ex, trying to convince me we could still work things out, persuaded me to go to a baseball game with him. We had very good seats, close to home plate, except we had to turn sideways in our seats to watch the action. Abruptly he stood up and he was naked. I asked him what the hell he was doing. Look at me, he said. I'm doing this for you. I told him to put his clothes back on. He did, but then he was trying to put something on my finger. It was the engagement ring he'd given me before we married, but the setting was askew, loose. I made him put it back into the black ring box and into his pocket. I felt I had to leave and set out on foot. It was sunny, but the grasses were high and I toiled up hills and tumbled down them, watching for him to follow.

Night 2. The awkward
I was at a vaguely Wisconsin-like event and began making out with a woman. She was quite persuasive, but I wasn't so sure I wanted to be with her. When I realized an old boyfriend had arrived, I felt relieved and guiltily excused myself, explaining that I hooked up with him every year, here. We didn't get very far though, because my room was one in a long chain of adjoining rooms, offering no privacy. However, each room did come with a dog, large and golden and waiting patiently for attention.

Night 3. The silly
I went to a popular park along the lake equipped with a series of stations along the shore. At each station, you would answer questions. If you got enough right, the dog at that station would push you into the water., sometimes jumping in with you. Then you'd climb out and go to the next station, where the next dog would push you in. There was even a station with a little black lab puppy. You were sure a puppy would not be strong enough to push you in, but sure enough, he did.

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Current Location: US, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Hennepin, 39th Ave S, 3020
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March 21st, 2012
05:10 pm

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Definitions
This morning I had to call my ex (and yes, it is legally “ex” now!) to ask him to sign a document I emailed him. I knew I had to call because I need him to get it signed and notarized for me today or tomorrow, and he doesn’t check his email regularly. He was generally curt and somewhat hostile, which is what I expected, but didn’t say anything really out of order.

But this post isn’t about what he said or did, but about my reaction. After I hung up, I felt anxious and nervous and generally bad. So after lunch I took myself out for a short walk and I thought about why. I started off with the usual self-reprimands – “you shouldn’t feel this way…you shouldn’t be so sensitive…you’re supposed to be strong.”

Then I stopped. First of all, I told myself, there is no “should” or “shouldn’t” about feelings. You simply have feelings and they are not right or wrong. There is only “should” or “shouldn’t” about how you express them and how you deal with them.

And how was I dealing with my bad feelings? I went for a walk. I got myself a chocolate chip cookie. I listened to M.I.A.’s  Bad Girls and Lady Gaga’s Born this Way over and over all afternoon while I worked. And I decided that maybe it isn’t whether or not I feel bad after a tense interaction that makes me strong. Maybe it’s giving myself what I need to feel better. Maybe I can define that as strength.

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May 21st, 2010
09:24 am

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Soren and our new house

Last night Soren really surprised me with how much he can understand already. (He is two and only recently began putting multiple-word sentences together.) Although he has heard us talking about plans for moving to a new house for some time, I hadn't talked to him about it directly, because I thought it would be hard for him to understand.

Last night at bedtime I told  him that in a few days we would be moving into a new house. “Yes,” he said. “New house.”

I told him we would take all his things with us to the new house, so he picked up various toys. "Giraffe. New house," he said. "Car. New house." I confirmed that all his toys would go to the new house. 

Then he came the couch and said "Couch stay." I told him that no, we would bring the couch to the new house. He looked concerned. "Heavy," he said.

I thought that was a pretty amazing thing for him to think through. I told him even though it was heavy, we would take it with us, but daddy would need help to move it. "Mama help," he agreed. (Actually, I hope it's going to be someone stronger than me helping with that!)

He went on to point out various objects and confirm that they would come to the new house. He was happy when I said that he could help me pack his favorite balls for the new house.

April 23rd, 2010
03:35 pm

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What I've been reading
  • The Patron Saint of Plagues - Barth Anderson
  • Her Smoke Rose up Forever  - James Tiptree Jr. (I read only about 2/3 of these stories, but when the stress level in my life went up, I needed something lighter.)
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress – Rhoda Janzen
  • Concourse – S. J. Rozan
  • Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin
  • No Colder Place – S. J. Rozan
I have mentally composed little paragraphs of commentary about most of these, but it's taken me so long to actually post this that I'm going to be satisfied with just putting up a list.

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March 8th, 2010
09:29 am

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Do Something Big
Sharing our 2010 awareness campaign for Be The Match (where I work) -- for which I've been frantically coordinating development of all the online elements for the last month. (And I made this widget.)

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February 18th, 2010
12:15 pm

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Book # 2 - The Sun Inside
So much for my plans to keep up with posting my book-reading. I actually finished the novella, The Sun Inside, by the amazing writer David J. Schwartz (snurri ) a month ago. Okay, he's also a friend, but that isn't why I think he's a great writer.

Since it's been a month, so I'm going to note just the two things from this short book that I'm still thinking about:

1. Encountering the loss of time as we know it. No days (no sunsets or sunrises), minutes, or hours. The character in the novella deals with this transition fairly easily; it is not his primary concern. But I keep thinking about it. Entering such a world could be incredibly disconcerting and frightening. Sometimes I think it would be no big deal; you'd learn time isn't so important after all. Other times, I imagine it, it induces real panic, at least for a while. How would this affect the way society organizes itself? (could an office function?) Again, not the point of the novella, but what it's led me to think about.

2. The choice of having the first-person narrator tell his story to someone. The listener and their situation is not identified until the end of the story, and the occasional reminders of this do provide some narrative tension. But on the other hand, I misinterpreted the cues and thought the situation was quite different than the ending showed it to be, which was frustrating. (Admittedly, could be my bad reading). And whenever the narrator addressed the "you," it interrupted the story, pulled me out of the narrative. There are legitimate reasons to do that, of course. But I'm not entirely convinced of the choice here, still pondering that one. 

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February 11th, 2010
03:55 pm

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Soren is two!
Two years ago today my Soren insistently made his way into the world. I'm sitting in my cube at work, where the photos on my wall are a full year old, taken when he was one.

I'm not doing a very good job of keeping up with the photo-taking-and-printing and so on. The scrapbook I bought to be his baby book is still untouched in the shopping bag. I really do want to put something in it one day, but I guess it remains undone because there are more important things to do.

The world of Soren
Soren is a happy, cheerful, curious little boy. He loves to do puzzles and look at books and color (with markers, it must be markers!) and climb and run and jump and investigate his older brother's stuff.

He is getting better at expressing his needs and interests in words. A couple months ago, Greg and I were discussing our concerns that Soren's language development had stalled, that there had been very little advances for several months and he was behind the "norm" for kids his age. Within two days there was this sudden upsurge in new words! As if he knew we were getting worried. One of the funniest things to me is the way he says please. He'll hold up his cup and say "mo--" and then say "eeee" (meaning please) which turns his face into a big smile.

He loves to go out into the "no" (snow) but still has mixed feelings about sledding. He mostly refuses to wear mittens, even the lovely soft ones I knitted for him with ravens on them. He prefers to just pull his hands up into his coat sleeves.

Apparently he really likes to give the other toddlers at daycare big hugs, whether they like it or not.

He still likes me to cuddle him and say that he is my baby. He is also very independent, and is often happy to play and investigate things on his own.

He frequently runs to the bathroom to grab the step stool so he can watch what's happening in the kitchen or reach something or other. He gets very angry when we make him put it away or pull him off of it.

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January 13th, 2010
12:47 pm

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Books, 2010

Last year, I kept meaning to write about books I was reading and never did, so I’m trying to start the year off right. I’m not aiming at proper reviews, just my quick reactions.

So here it is, the first book of 2010:
Alan DeNiro’s Total Oblivion, More or Less
Oh, I really liked this book a lot! I liked it so much that I didn’t want to finish it, wanted to give it time for thinking about before I reached the end. I set it aside in the middle for about two weeks during the holidays, because I didn’t want to read it when I was distracted.

I kept thinking “this is exactly what I want to write” except when I try to pin down what I mean by that, it makes no sense, because I don’t actually see myself writing anything that an outside observer would find comparable. It’s something to do with the imaginative playfulness of it. It made me think of what I like in some of Pynchon and DeLillo. Reading this made me want to write, inspired play, imaginative possiblities.

The main thing I questioned about this book was the ending. It seemed too nicely wrapped up for Macy, more than all that had happened before left me ready to believe. Okay, I just deleted the rest of what I wrote about the ending, in case one of the few people reading this blog has yet to read this book. And if you’re one of them, start reading it today, I tell you!

I know Alan, by the way, from our Twin Cities monthly writers’ gatherings -- at which I’ve been lucky enough to meet some really amazing writers. (Thanks, haddayr and snurri for starting the gathering and keeping it going.)
 


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November 2nd, 2009
04:54 pm

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just dreams
Lots of vivid dreams last night that keep rotating past the consciousness, begging me to share.
  • Playing with a huge black bear in piney mountain woods. When he wasn't playing with me, I saw through my window, that he was playing on the frozen ice with his friend the polar bear.
  • First day at a new college:
    • A man asks me if I wanted to go out for drinks on the weekend and then back to his place. I agree.
    • Later I think that my husband might not care for that plan, so I'd better check with him, and also keep an eye open for my "date" so I can tell him we might have to cancel.
    • Went to a cooking class in which the instructor retreated to her kitchen to make a meal that included an entire half a pineapple -- so easy, just slice it in half and drop it in the pan -- while the students waited in the classroom, bored. The instructor returned with the completed dish, which she angrily denounced as a failure, though we all gobbled it up.
    • Discussed with fellow students the wisdom of dropping the cooking course.
    • Searched vainly through my bookbag for my class schedule so I could find my last class of the day.
    • Hoisted my heavy bookbag to my shoulder to find the admin building so I could get my schedule again. Keep arriving at buildings that are not the admin building.
    • Find Kai sitting there on campus where daycare apparently dropped him off -- or he escaped, which is unclear.
    • Now I'm dragging both Kai and Soren on my search for the admin building so I can find out where I'm supposed to be, check in with my professor, then go read the riot act to the daycare people.

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