28 November 2008

Cluelessness? Premeditated Murder? You Be the Judge.

I occasionally lurk on a forum for men and women who have in-laws from Hell. Yesterday (Thanksgiving) I expected some doozies of stories, but not a tale of premeditated murder.

This poor woman has a fatal allergy to a certain food product. Her husband, unfortunately, is so enmeshed with his parents that he's still trying to crawl back into his mother's womb. In other words, he will let his parents badmouth and bully his wife, and say nothing in her defense. Not much of a man, and less of a husband. But I digress.

After much argument, wife lets husband persuade her into hosting his parents for Thanksgiving. She did so with much trepidation; her mother-in-law (MIL), in the past, had made desserts with the ingredient to which she is deathly allergic. In fact, this MIL had gone so far as to push this dessert toward the poor woman and urge her to take a bite to "see what happened." After that incident, the woman started carrying an epi-pen with her at all times.

Back to the present. Before dinner, woman's husband keeps telling her to make a certain dessert that the woman likes. Woman declines, because MIL has been asked to bring dessert. Husband again insists that woman make a pie. Again, woman declines.

Then MIL and FIL arrive, bringing not only a pie to which woman is deathly allergic, but they also BRING THEIR OWN FOOD. Turns out FIL "hates" the woman's cooking. Who in the fucking hell brings their own food to someone else's house for dinner?! But here's the kicker - during dessert, woman is sitting, stony-faced, while the others eat MIL's pie, and MIL is telling the woman all about how good and tasty and yummy the pie is. Woman's husband is shoveling pie in his face without comment.

Woman realizes that her husband knew all along that his mother was bringing a dessert that could potentially kill his wife, and said (and did) nothing. Nor did he call them on the gross insult of bringing their own food and scorning the meal he and his wife had prepared for them.

Now this woman is nearly apoplectic with anger at herself for letting herself be persuaded to host these evil people for a meal in her home. I say she should be more enraged at her husband, who KNEW what his mother was doing and stood silently by and let her do it.

I think she needs, in this order: a police report against her MIL (there's an established pattern of behavior of this woman trying to kill her), a locksmith, and a pitbull divorce attorney. Because I don't care how much that man claims to "love" his wife: no husband should let his parents do that to the woman he married.

What do you think?

27 November 2008

Happy Dysfunction!

During the past week all I've heard about at work is how much people are dreading this holiday: the cooking, the cleaning, the family and the attendant family arguments, the expectations, the passive/aggressive comments, and the boredom. That's what Thanksgiving's all about, right? Years ago, I might have agreed with you; in the early days of my first marriage, I spent many a Thanksgiving with my in-laws (who bore an eerie resemblance to the Borg), which meant either being bored out of my skull or biting my tongue so hard in the face of sly remarks that it's a wonder I have any tongue left.

Somehow, over the years, the thanksgiving celebration has devolved into a Norman Rockwell parody - you MUST be with your faaaaamily, and you WILL be happy, even if it kills you! Even my own dear parents, who are traveling to SoCal to spend the holiday weekend with my brother, have expressed trepidation about being there; even though they love my brother and his family, there's always the possibility that a disagreement will escalate into a full-blown argument. (Yes, it's happened before.)


On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be able to spend the holiday the way I wish, with people I truly love and want to be with. I am thankful for my loving husband, my talented and caring friends, and for the fact that my family lives half a continent away.

Wherever you are today, I hope you are spending the holiday the way YOU want. I wish you generous portions of love, warmth, peace, happiness, and pie.

Mmmm. Pie.

22 November 2008

He's Back.

My husband has returned from his business trip, and all is right with the world. I never sleep well when he's away; plus, I've been fighting off this flu-shot-induced cold, *and* trying not to strangle my socially inept, uncooperative, uncommunicative, know-it-all, passive/aggressive, martyr-wannabe co-worker.

Yes, it's been a week.

But I'm better now. :-)

18 November 2008

Ugh. Again.

I got a flu shot on Friday. I thought I was doing myself a favor and helping to avoid a winter of misery.

Boy, was I wrong.

Saturday, I woke up with my injection-side arm aching in every joint. No problem, I say to myself. Just a little reaction to the vaccine.

Sunday, I'm feeling kind of tired and worn down. No problem, I say to myself. I'd had a busy day, and didn't nap.

Monday, I wake up with that telltale tickle in the back of my throat. My nose begins its impression of a leaky faucet.

Oh, shit. Not again. My hubby has it, too. I'm not sure if I had it first, and was fighting it off until the flu shot came along, or if my husband had it, decided to share, and my immune system couldn't handle both it and the flu shot.

Whatever the pathology, it sucks. And I can't take time off from work; there's too much going on. Hubby has it worse - he's got to fly today for business. Gah. Much suckage all the way around.

Not much to do for it except stock up on more Cold-Eze, Mucinex, and decongestants. Kleenex, anyone?

15 November 2008

Sleep = Made of Win

Have I mentioned how awesome sleep is? I'd almost forgotten, 'cause this past week I got precious little of it, what with either dreaming about work or laying awake in the small dark hours, worrying if the previous day's problems with this new electronic process had been fixed yet.

My husband tells me I obsess too much about things I can't control. He's right. And I'm really trying to correct that.

In the meantime, I intend to pamper myself this weekend. Like I said in my last post, I have absolutely no intention of getting out of my jammies today. Except to work out. But after I shower, it's back into the embrace of comfy fleece. There will also be much nappage. Yeah, it's a slug's life, but after the week I've had, I feel absolutely zero guilt about spending the weekend in first gear.

I'm off now for more tea, and the first decent breakfast I've had all week. About bloody time.

14 November 2008

Anyone Get the License Plate of That Truck?

You know, the one that ran me over. Oh, wait a minute - that wasn't a truck. It only felt like it.

Last week I trained a small set of co-workers to perform a new electronic task. This week that task went live; I had to go in to the office early every day (up at 4:30, in the office by 6:45) to provide more detailed, on-the-spot training and to serve as emergency backup. We encountered a couple of rough spots early in the week, but things eventually settled down and my co-workers started to feel comfortable with the new process.

Thank goodness. 'Cause any more of this and I'd be dead on my feet. As it is, I'm only mostly dead. Ugh. I hate feeling like this - drained, cranky, listless.

I know how I'm going to spend *my* weekend - in my pyjamas!

12 November 2008

Bodhisattvas Rule.

A bodhisattva, according to the Mayahana tradition of Buddhism, is "a person who already has a considerable degree of enlightenment and seeks to use their wisdom to help other human beings to become liberated themselves. In this understanding of the word the Bodhisattva is an already wise person who uses skillful means to lead others to see the benefits of virtue and the cultivation of wisdom." (source: Wikipedia)

Right now, I'm convinced my friend Nancy is one such individual. Not only does she listen to me whine about the vicissitudes of my search for meaning, but she helps me cut through the bullshit to see into the heart of my troubles.

She recently imparted these words of wisdom:

"Sometimes romance writers get in a cult-like mind have to write to have worth- you have to be published to have worth- you have to publish big to have worth-you have to write everyday to have have to hit the bestseller lists to have worth. It is so easy to buy into - but it's all nuts."

This simple statement hit me like a bolt out of the blue. I realized that I *had* been brainwashed. That I had bought into the whole "romance writer" litany of worth, lock, stock, and barrel - hence my current bout of hand-wringing.

None of the "cult mindset" determines my worth: I determine it. I determine what makes me happy.

And right now, I'm so happy to have such a wonderful friend (and bodhisattva) in my life.

11 November 2008


I just realized it's been almost a week since my last post. Mea culpa! I've been assisting with a MAJOR project at work, one that has me going into the office early all this week. (Except today. Thank goodness for federal holidays.)

While it's required a hellish amount of prep work, this project has also been highly satisfying; I have a real sense of accomplishment when I come home. Which makes me realize know what's coming...wait for it...I get more satisfaction out of my day job than I get out of writing.

But I wonder if that must necessarily be A Bad Thing.

These days I find energy to write only on the weekends. And even then, other things clamor for my attention - chores, errands, and books on my TBR shelf. Lately, I must confess, I would rather curl up and read someone else's words rather than struggle to forge my own.

What's wrong with me?

I've asked myself this question several times during the past few weeks. No story seems capable of holding my interest past 10-20 pages. No one idea is so compelling that I must drop everything to focus on it. I bounce back and forth between concepts like a caffeine-crazed Capuchin monkey, unable to settle down.

Do I want to focus my energies on my job? It has the promise of becoming a very rewarding career for me; it ceased to be "just a job" quite a while ago. Add to this the fact that I simply cannot make a living from writing; I cannot put that kind of pressure on myself and deliver good results. But if I choose to concentrate on my career, what happens to my writing? Do I *have* to choose between the two? If push comes to shove, does the writing get relegated back to "occasional hobby" status, and am I OK with that?

My gut response says I am. I'm not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed. I mean, I have the ability, but not the desire. There are a lot of writers out there with plenty of desire, but not the ability; I've read lots of complete and total wallbangers lately. Is it better to have the talent and not use it, or have no talent and do it anyway? And why do I feel that I must write full time to have any sort of identity as a writer?

I guess it all boils down to these questions: What do I really want to do? Where does the heart of my desire lay? And can I find an identity as both a writer and a career-minded individual?

And at the moment, I truly have no answer.


The journey continues.

05 November 2008

Happiness By the Numbers

Number of electoral votes: 349
Percentage of popular vote: 52
Number of days until Barack Obama is sworn in: 76
Getting the most hated man in the Western world out of the Oval Office: priceless

On a side note, hubby and I both woke up around 1 AM this morning. Without saying a word, we both got up, put on robes, and shuffled into the living room to turn on the TV. We sat there for half an hour, jubilant smiles on our faces, as the winning results scrolled across the screen from MSNBC.

Never mind that it was pitch black outside; it was the start of an absolutely brilliant day.

04 November 2008


I'm sure you're tired of hearing this from every quarter, but I'm going to say it anyway.


I don't care who you vote for. Yes, I have my preference (go, Senator Obama!!), but voting isn't about Who's Right, or Who's Evil and Who's Not (sorry!). It's about the process.

If you don't vote, you're throwing away one of the prime privileges of living in a democratic society. Don't fall for the rationalization that your vote won't count. It does. Without voting, we succumb to dictatorship, totalitarianism, or worse.

There. Public service announcement over. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blogging.