The Reluctant Astronaut

Also known as the main character in the movie Gravity.

‘Ugh, I get vertigo’

Really?! How about you take a moment (or a hundred) to appreciate being in the top 1% of astronauts who actually get to go into actual space. I just don’t buy this premise, that a woman who is given this opportunity would be bored/reluctant/meh about it.

And where are the rules of physics in this movie? When she and George’s character are suffering from George being pulled in an opposite direction, she could have just pulled a LITTLE bit to reel him back in. Where is this mysterious force pulling George away? Maybe I’m dumb.

And also when she was spinning, she could have just closed her eyes to avoid feeling so uncomfortable. Again, maybe I’m dumb.

I spent most of this movie being irritated with Sandra Bullock’s character. I watched this movie while on an airplane and so I was able to fast forward quite a bit of it. At one point I just wanted to see how it ended so that I could have some closure and move on with my life.

I REALLY hope this movie doesn’t win for best actress or actor. Visually this movie was stunning, that’s true. Full credit for making this piece of space art.

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Dogs Don’t Ask Questions

Dogs understand. They are easily won over. Lots of people identify themselves as dog people. Does that mean they are easily won over and compassionate even when they don’t understand the cause of the upset? Can you bribe these people with food?

Dogs are sleeping, warm, comforting lumps. Once they’re out of the puppy stage, dogs seem to nap most of the day and night. They are always up for a nap. The big dog at our house snores, more and more each day it seems. I love the sound of snoring. Husband snores too. Sometimes the snoring sounds like waves crashing on a beach. Other times it reminds me of a hibernating bear.

I find myself drawn to human noises, such as snoring and also the bustle of city life. I like living near other people in a community setting. I don’t want silence and isolation. And apparently I want noise around me even when I’m sleeping.

What the actual fuck?

…am I supposed to do? Ex husband (since 2005) has very recently broken up with his live-in girlfriend whom I love. (Maybe that’s the first inkling I should have had about the potential longevity of this relationship.) I wouldn’t be very affected by this if not for the effect it’s having on my children. HFS they are of course devastated. But wait, it gets better.

The kids and I spent all weekend dealing with this news, which is huge news because the kids and ex have to move. They had all been living at the girlfriend’s house with her and her son. Luckily ex still has his own home that he had rented out to other people. So he had to give them notice before he moves everything back in this coming weekend. Oh and also, he wanted the kids’ help loading the trailer with belongings. That’s not happening. I will put my body in between ex and my kids if necessary.

As a result of these unpleasant events, ex has become unpleasant himself. When under stress he typically lashes out at others, gives no slack,and generally is a prick. I can handle it because I don’t live with him and I don’t care if he gets angry because there are no real consequences for me when that happens. It’s different for a 12 yr old and a 10 yr old though. I’d love to blast him, but that would do no good. All I can do is teach my children how to cope with their father’s anger. Unfortunately their feelings are often hurt. His attitude and relationship habits (this is not the first time, not even the 2nd) are not legal grounds for me to cut down his influence during times like these. It’s not that I don’t think they need him, because I know that they do. I just wish like hell I could protect them from him when he’s being a dickhead. I fully expect this will situation happen again, but the next time I’ll bet our children won’t be so quick to adapt to the new situation with a new woman. 

It’s not as if I have never made mistakes with them. This wound is fresh, and we are all still reeling from it. We feel like there has been a death in the family, and that’s not hyperbole. We are all fine for an hour or more, then one or more of us will dissolve into tears. Generally I don’t cry; I’m not what you would call a crier. But when I see my children in pain of any kind, here comes the tears. I can muster up a few just by thinking about some of the conversations I’ve had with the kids this weekend. 

 

I hate being divorced

…even though I’d be miserable if still married to husband #1.

Reason #1 why I hate being divorced: Applying for Child Passport Renewal.

Not only do I need all the bullshit paperwork required for such a thing (2 forms each (which are not easy to decipher, as you can imagine), standard pictures ($25 each thanks very much), signatures on all 4 pictures, old passports, birth certificates, guarantor. I also need the separation agreement (that a random official will go through with a fine-toothed comb, how fun) and the divorce decree.

I waited in the chairs, concentrating on staying calm in what surely is a perfect situation to lose one’s shit, and I played Solitaire on my phone for about 90 minutes. I finally made it to a counter! With a person behind it! How exciting!

But alas, I had forgotten my divorce decree. Fuck! Now I have to rely on my filing methods (fairly dodgy honestly) that I know where that decree is located. Plus, I can’t look for it right this minute because I am not at home. I am at work.

Reasons #2 – #1000 I hate being divorced: I feel like a failure.
I’ve opined often on this blog about how I needed to marry my first husband so that I could learn that’s not the relationship I wanted. And I have talked long and hard about how we are all making lemonade out of lemons by being amicable and keeping a peaceful as possible upbringing for our kids and our kids are doing just fine thanks. But deeeeeeeep down I wish I didn’t subject everyone, including me, to this sort of lifestyle. Because the life of a split family is a lifestyle choice. I’m having a bad day today, can you tell? Self-flagellation is the order of today.

Wow, you look great!

I’ve definitely shed some weight since becoming vegan in summer 2013. People are starting to notice, and I appreciate people noticing, but losing weight wasn’t my motivation to completely change my diet.

My motivation comes from having watched some documentaries regarding nutrition and how it relates to individual health and the general environment, and then reading some books on the subject. Once I decided to forgo all animal products in my diet, there was no turning back. I had a fairly easy time of it when I stopped eating eggs, dairy, and fish; a lot easier than I expected. The foods I prepared for meals were barely passable at first, but I didn’t let that deter me. I’ve been at this for about 7 months now and there are many recipes I use to cook meals that even my omnivore family enjoys. Ok so maybe the midgets hate it, but this isn’t a democracy. After having made this switch, I started to notice a big improvement in my overall mental and physical health. I hadn’t expected to feel brighter mentally, and I didn’t expect to feel physically better so soon after the switch.

For years I had been self-medicating with carbohydrates and alcohol. Being a mother, working full time, adding in a house and everything that goes with home ownership, extended family issues, and blah blah blah all added up to a helluva lot of stress in my days and nights. Slowly but surely, over the years I increased my pasta and cheese intake because that sort of comfort food made me feel better instantly. I love wine, red or white, and I love the warm feeling in my chest and the laughter that lifts the corners of my mouth after I’ve enjoyed a glass or 2. Besides all of that, drinking wine is incredibly social. I enjoyed meeting friends for a drink or savoring a glass of wine with husband after work or after the midgets finally went to bed for the night.

All of these foods and liquids gradually stopped doing their job of smoothing over the rough edges of my days, and they started to weigh me down mentally. I guess this weighed me down physically too? Especially considering the change in my appearance lately.

I’ve noticed during the past few years many Moms wax poetic about their wine habits:
“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”
“I drink wine because I don’t like to keep things bottled up.”
“OMG I so need a glass of wine before I sell my kids.”

Those are just a few quotes taken directly from Facebook. Currently, wine drinking, especially among parents, is very fashionable. If there’s anything I’m not, it’s fashionable. I suppose my non-wine drinking self is consistent at least.

When a person notices I’ve physically changed, at some point he or she will ask how I’ve done it and what I changed about my life to achieve this. They don’t understand that to me, this body isn’t my achievement but instead is just a by-product of my real goal: a stable happy mood. And so, after I explain that I have eliminated all animal products from my diet, I further explain that I made this change because I wanted to feel better, not lose weight. And I go on from there to describe how my mood and energy has benefitted from being a vegan.

Typically after I explain I’m vegan, my audience exclaims that they could never give up meat and dairy because they love it too much. Ok, but what if someone they trust (a doctor? a celebrity?) told them that by eschewing all animal products they would feel better and therefore look better? Would they be more willing to try it then? I really get the sense the listener thinks I’m nuts. Also it’s hard to give up our comfort foods if we are in fact deriving comfort from them. Like I said earlier, I had reached a point where those foods were having an opposite effect on my mood and so was willing to try something new.

There have been and will continue to be challenges for me to overcome to maintain my restricted diet, although I don’t feel deprived in the least. If anything I feel freer than ever to enjoy foods without experiencing a crash, a hangover (in its many forms), or guilt over having eaten something yummy.

If you’re interested in the material I used to reach this conclusion:
The China Study
The China Study Cookbook
Vegucated (documentary)
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (documentary)

Applications are not Obvious

I’m not talking about job applications here. I’m talking about knowing what is the correct path for yourself in terms of relationships: how you SHOULD be acting; what you SHOULD be thinking; and then recognizing the WHEN.

For example, you must educate yourself on how to maintain good communication with your partner. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a spouse with whom I find it easy to connect. I’d be a fool to think our marriage can always be this easy. That’s not to say we don’t put time and work in; we set aside time to be together without anyone else around, even if that’s just 15 minutes on a weekend morning or during the drive to work on a weekday. Thanks to texts and email, we are able to communicate well and often even when we’re not together physically. And even when together physically we occasionally text and email so as to have private conversations when there are small ears listening in.

Husband and I have faced adversity, financial and emotional and otherwise, and we have done well. I hope we can continue to do so, that we can always weather these storms together and come out the other end without any resentment or hurt feelings. Again though, I would be a fool to assume this will be the case 100% of the rest of our life together. And when we do hit a rough patch, I hope hope hope we are able to recognize and apply a little understanding and sensitivity toward each other as we have in the past, so as not to weaken the metaphorical fabric of our union.

The important differences in this marriage (as opposed to my first marriage) are that I know myself a lot better than I used to, I am able to ask for what I want and need (because I know my spouse will listen and respond – I don’t need to shout or repeat myself), and we have a great friendship underneath the romantic layer of marriage. This is a friendship in which we want the very best for each other, we want each other to succeed, and we are each other’s favorite person without a doubt.

If your marriage/long term relationship is in trouble, no matter how much you try to improve it you can succeed only if both people recognize the need to change behavior and then actively work to do that. But even the hardest working couple cannot overcome incompatibility. Dr. Gottman has very useful advice, but that advice will get you only so far. You cannot improve a relationship with just one person trying to do so, and if you are incompatible with your partner, no amount of trying and changing and communicating is going to put you in sync with each other. Love is simply not sufficient to make a long-term relationship work.

I’ll leave you with a few links to an author who has conducted decades of research on relationships. He provides methods to ensure you are marrying the right person AND how to keep your marriage a happy and fulfilling one:

http://www.gottmanblog.com/

http://www.gottman.com/

Shhhh

Trying to keep my excitement contained but the lid keeps popping off. Husband and I depart for his birthday trip to Paris on Tuesday night.

Paris is our favorite place in the world, currently. We have been there a few times but never on our own. I surprised him for his 60th birthday with a quick trip there. I would love to pack up and move there but that’s not practical at the moment. Maybe not ever. And we still have other countries to explore, so perhaps we will develop another favorite destination at some point.

I got a good deal for a last minute trip, plus the flight there is non-stop and the flight back has just one short layover. And the flight times are fairly civilized. Priceline is my best resource for discount travel. There’s also Vacations To Go, but it’s useful only if you want to go on a cruise. I looked at flights plus renting an apartment in Paris as we have done before, but couldn’t beat the package deal for flights and hotel I found this time.

We could have used our resources this time to see a new city. But with such a short trip, I don’t want to spend much time learning to navigate a new place. In Paris, we already know where we will want to go and how to get there. Valentines day on the Champs Élysées. Gee how boring 🙂

HFS

We moved. Well I didn’t do much besides stand around most of the day and then I helped clean up the old place. We had hired movers to do all of the heavy lifting, and husband’s amazing assistant was helping a lot with logistics and getting set up at the new location. Still lots to unpack but we are all excited about the new space. It looks great and I look forward to many happy years there.

Husband’s bday is this week, so my midgets are excited to find a fun present for him. Kids love a bday even when it’s not their own. Who the hell doesn’t? Actually the older I get I enjoy other people’s bdays more than mine, ha ha.