Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ain't Talking 'Bout Love

But yet, I am. This morning was my first run with my Nano that Pebbles bought me for Mother's Day. Awesome. I'd had an mp3 player, but I only had one CD on it so it got pretty boring pretty quickly and then in broke months and months ago and I never replaced it. But this, this as yet-unnamed technological miracle is spectacular. As an added bonus, Pebbles preloaded it with music that she thought I would like. I hadn't even really looked at what was on it - this morning it was just hit shuffle and GO! Well, go with a little g, if you've ever seen me run.

My plan was to run and out and back - about an hour and a half in time and there is that midpoint where things start to drag a bit and you begin to think about how your legs feel (that's always my downfall - my legs get heavy) and it was at that point where this four song wad of Van Halen came on. It was just what I needed to get my perked back up and excited to finish strong. Ain't Talking 'Bout Love, my Asics-clad foot.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Shuffle if you have to, but just get moving.


Friday, May 30, 2008


Apparently the cold war is over as I got a call from Mom today effectively ending the silent treatment that I'd been receiving over the whole banking thing. The deal is that I am not angry with her - I just needed to be removed from the inner workings of her finances. It's not good for me and it's not good for her. She chatted on like nothing was wrong - we talked about flowers, sister, the fact that my ex-husband is going to church with her on Sunday and about our upcoming vacation. It was during the course of that conversation that she mentioned that she would be getting a debit card as a part of her new account. And I just said "Oh, that's great" and let it go at that.

I am very glad to have that over with. It was important for me to take those steps and I'll deal with someone being unjustifyingly angry with me if I have to. I'm just glad that I chose not to read any of her emails about this so I don't have other things to stew over. My goal is to be able to have a more boundry-respecting relationship that allows us to enjoy each other. I do not want estrangement, but I will risk it in order to look out for myself.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find a way.


Off the deep end

I went to a water aerobics class last night expecting it to be a total powderpuff class. I just wanted an excuse to be in the outdoor pool in the afternoon. Well, hell, Angela, the instructor, worked us HARD. Although I don't think it did a thing for me aerobically, it sure felt like it was toning stuff up. This class meets three afternoons a week and I think I'll plug it in as a core-enhancing exercise. So for the summer, I'll be donning my Aquaman gloves and splashing around the pool.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Keep your head above water.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Approaching Normal

Sandy is not in Chicago as it turns out. Bick saw her and her mother last night. Sandy has come up with a plan to get herself together as Bick requested to return herself to academic possibility and fiscal solvency. I'll remain hopeful. For now, it appears that she and Bick are going to remain estranged, at least for a while. She shows no interest in having a relationship with him and he's tired of trying to push it. I don't know that it's his long term solution, but he is taking the summer off to see what happens. And by taking the summer off, I mean he's not initiating contact, invitations, etc. He, of course, will be open to anything she initiates. The two of them seem to keep each other's buttons permanently set in the ON position and it will be up to them to figure out what to do about it. But first, do no harm. It's just hard to know what that is.

Bick got the order in for the lumber/supplies with a scheduled delivery of next weekend. He's called the electric company to come mark lines and we've started on site preparation. It's the first step in the whole yard redo that will involve new raised planting beds, some outdoor living space, and a chicken coop. The chicken coop won't happen until the last thing, but it's one of the things Bick is most excited about. He raised chickens as a kid and can't wait to have them again. I've never had chickens and remain a bit skeptical, but whenever we go visit the Poolville Pagans, Bick carries around one of their chickens like it was a puppy dog. The man loves chickens. Weirdo.

Not much in the form of forced exercise, although I did unload 1,500 pounds of decomposed granite last night via shovel and wheelbarrow for our expanded pathways. I don't know that has a category for that!

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Just keep shoveling.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mulchfest '08

Mulchfest '08 drew to it's rain-drenched conclusion yesterday. There were 22 attendees to view the 25 yards of mulch piled in Bick's backyard.

Twenty of the attendees took up residence in the new south bed, where they appeared much smaller than they had on the showroom floor. They were tucked in and surrounded by Roxie and Bick's bad mulch decision of 2007, which had to be lifted from the front beds and transported in a gale storm to it's new home in the south. New, less bleedy mulch was then put in the front beds, where Roxie and Bick will enjoy it not turning the damn fishpond some awful shade of red.

Most of the mulch at mulch fest was transported by Walter and his traveling tractor to fill a low spot in the back yard. Somehow Bick thinks this is a good idea. Roxie is beginning to think Bick may be a taco short of a combo plate on this one.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Bury bad decisions in the past.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Home Improvement

So it turns out that I'm building a carport. No, not at Reata South. Bick is about to embark on the whole carport/garage-lite project. I foresee nail guns in my future. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Looks like he's going to hire a couple of guys to help with the framing and then he and I will finish it out. I can see what my weekends hold for the next, oh, ever!

Actually I am excited about it. It will be something else to think about, for both Bick and me.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find something to improve.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday thoughts

It is time to just do good things and let the negativity roll off of my back.

The situation with Mom really causes me a great deal of pain, but I'm sticking to my guns on this one. It's an appropriate boundary for me to establish and I just need to realize I will feel better at the end of this. The good news is that I'm not arguing with her, I'm not trying to justify my actions, I am not wrestling with any pigs here. I've stated my demand saying that I can no longer tolerate the situation and that it must change. I've learned to hit the DEL key and leave emails unread and just restate my position. Over and over again.

I've also been reading about NPD and it describes parents with NPD as being unable to:

-assume personal responsibility
-accept any argument that suggests the parent was wrong or is making an error
-understanding your feelings
-your anger
-any charge of unfairness.

So this just sucks. I just need to concentrate on the good stuff that's going on with me and let go of the things that I cannot change.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Some things are better left unread.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sexy Slingback Sugar Shower Cookies

Up at 3:30am to decorate the shower cookies for bridal shower at the office. I wanted to just get them done and out of the way. I was wishing for reader Jill during the decorating part, as I've seen some of the great, creative and beautiful stuff she's capable of.

Still in a funk and I haven't had much success determine which is cause and which is effect. Still locked in a battle of the wills over the banking situation. Word on the grapevine is that Sandy has moved to Chicago. Bick is going to try to confirm this with the XMB today - she was evasive about missing their scheduled meeting on Monday - but this was before word drifted in, so Bick wasn't asking pointed questions then.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my tendency to over-think! Go ahead and chuckle, I know I did. According to some of the reading I've been doing, my inclination to hash, re-hash, brood, churn and obsess is symptomatic of an inward-turned problem solver - meaning I keep trying to find internal solutions to external problems. This disconnect leads to feelings of frustration and failure because there are some issues and problems that are external and need an external solution or action. Interesting concept, at the least. So when I find myself brooding over something, I'm trying to use some of CBT techniques to refocus myself in a different direction.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Have a cookie.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Roxie the Grouch

Still in a pissy mood. I appear to have pulled a calf muscle doing the backward elliptical mambo today at lunch. I may go home and snap Bick's head off - I do have to go home and decorate bridal shower cookies for a work party. I hope that goes well. And I WILL run the AC tonight if I have to beat Bick down with a pogo stick to get to the controller! Damn nightsweats!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hardhatted Hannah

Yesterday I had the distinct please of seeing Pebbles in action, replete in her hard hat and steeltoed shoes, tromping over a job site with the construction foreman and builder. Pebbles bought me a nano for Mother's Day, but forgot to give me the box it came in, including ear buds, cords, instructions etc., so I arranged to meet her at the jobsite somewhat near Reata North.

I pulled into the parking lot across the street as to not disturb her meeting. It's both an odd and moving experience to watch a child interact with the world as an adult. I've heard her doing her job on the phone talking with clients, scheduling meetings and deliveries and such, but I've never got to see her in action. Of course I couldn't hear what was being said, but when I looked across the street, all I could see was a young woman who appeared to be in control and confident.

I'm still in a funk. Glad the weekend is here, but it will be filled with too much to do. I did tell my Mom about my wishes for her to get her own bank account and that went over as expected. And now she doesn't appear to be speaking to me. The surprising discovery for me is that stuff like this really bothers me more than I thought it did. That standing up for myself and facing the possibility of displeasing her really does affect me. I didn't really know that these anxieties manifested themselves in me in such a way. I've been feeling stressed and anxious, stomach aches, lethargic, etc. So this is good news, I guess. I'm now recognizing what really does throw me into a funk - which becomes the first step to getting myself out of it.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Wear a hard hat in dangerous situations.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blah Blah Wednesday

Lovely flowers were awaiting my arrival home from work yesterday. Just to thank me for being supportive and understanding of Bick as he tries to redirect Sandy into a more fruitful life. Very, very sweet, but unnecessary.

I slipped back into some bad habits over the last couple of days - bad eating and no exercise. Shit. Just as sure as I talk about how well I've been doing, I'll sink sure as shooting. Feel like crap today.

Time to start again.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. A slip does not a failure make.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The University of Reality

Bick and XMB welcomed Sandy to the University of Reality last night. The XMB was willing to try to rein in Sandy in some ways, so the three of them met last night to discuss the new rules and expectations and what it means when you are no longer a student - the parental financial aid stops cold. She may decide that she wants to move out again, but as her Dad pointed out to her, then it just gets tougher financially. They will meet again next week, where Sandy is to present her budget with a plan to pay back some of the money she owes her Mom and Dad - (she charged a $300-plus radar detector as a gift for some guy to her Dad's credit card and he expects to be repaid for that one). She's pulled some equally impressive stunts on her mother. This is all about more than grades - there's the deceipt, lying, and the impressive sense of entitlement.

Unfortunately, Tough Love 101 will only work if XMB has enough spine to stick with it, so it's up to Bick to acknowledge how difficult this is for her. He did tell her that if she didn't do something, she would go from being a "danceteam-name Mom" last year (XMB was very active in the parental support of the dance team - an officer and fund raiser, etc) to "Waffle House Mom" next year if she didn't step up and head Sandy off at the pass. So perhaps this is a step in the right direction. Only time will tell.

I took a day off yesterday to catch up with some errands and take care of some long-overdue beauty treatments. Ended up being a great day, with a strange coincidence. On Sunday, I'd been out buying all my plants for my summer container gardens and ended up filling up two carts. I'd left them unattended to go look at something else and when I came back there was this little old lady looking through my plants. She thought that someone had put together a very nice display and was doing her shopping from my selections! We had a laugh, chatted a bit and went on about our business. Well, yesterday, I'll kiss your foot if I didn't run into her again, this time at the tire store, thirty miles from where I'd seen her the day before! So we chatted a bit more this time, she asked me my opinion about tire brands and whether this place was a good place to do business. Her name is Maudie and she's 76 years old. She's moved to the town just north of Reata North just a couple of years ago, after her husband died. I gave her my name and phone number and told her to call me- that I'd love to see her gardens and we'd go out to lunch some Saturday.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Reality - sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's quite sweet.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Pushing a noodle up a hill

Bick's level of frustration is continuing to climb. XMB is taking Sandy on a trip to Chicago this Wednesday. Bick suggested to XMB that Sandy hasn't done anything recently that warrants a reward such as this one, and that they as parents needed to do something to get her attention. He offered to pay the change fee for the airline tickets so that they could go at a different time. XMB said that it wasn't fair that she should be punished just because Sandy isn't doing well, so they are going.

A commenter said something about Bick being nice about this - ha! I don't know that nice plays into it. He's frustrated, hurt, disappointed and trying to think of a way to get through to this kid. It's keeping him up at night and while he's trying not to let it affect his outward demeanor, he's understandibly stressed. And he needs a break, so he's decided to take one from Sandy. He will be available to her, but he's taking the summer off from trying to keep this prickly relationship going. I think it may be broken in a way will require some family counseling and some maturity on Sandy's part. He has his part in this and he's aware of it and has been trying to make ammends, but it doesn't seem to be working. I don't think that a few months peace will make things any worse.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Know when to take a break.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Dial F for Failure

Three Fs. Two Ws. A cumulative gpa that is rapidly approaching zero.

Bick had pretty much prepared himself for this. Although, perhaps there was a part of him that hoped that somehow she would pull some of this out - both for her and for him. The hardest part of this to accept for him is her willingness to just flat out lie to him about all of it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gutting it out

Last night I didn't get home from work until about 2:30AM and was back up by 5:45AM and starting my day. I'm dead on my feet right now. I've got one more meeting this afternoon and then I'm home. I'm in a deathcon4 battle with myself to just dive into the plate of brownies here in the office just for the jolt of sugar energy. This is dangerous territory for me. My body is at war with itself - one part craves sleep and since that is impossible right now, the other part is demanding something for fuel. And I know that if I give in even a little there will be no stopping me. For me, it's easier (ha!) to say no to the first brownie than it is the second.

I haven't really acknowledged it here, but a couple of weeks ago I started trying to really make an effort to eat cleaner. I bought the low-carber dip sticks and according to my results, I've been eating according to program. I'm still not weighing. I haven't weighed in months - honestly the longest time in my history that I've gone without stepping on the scales. My intuition (and pants) tell me that I didn't gain any weight during the months-long sabbatical. I'm planning to make the sabbatical permanent, I think. There really is no good that comes from me subjecting myself to the tyranny of the scales. I weigh what I weigh. My pants will scream in protest if I'm getting out of hand.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Matching Baggage

Last evening Bick and I were having our ritual porch sit. Most evenings, if the weather permits, will find us spending some time sitting on the front porch watching the world go by and talking about our day.

I was discussing a family situation with Mom that revolved around money that had been keeping me up nights since last week. I've been really angry with her, as she is spending money at an astounding pace - by my count $2,500 last week alone. She will be dead broke inside of a year. I've stopped myself several times from sending out a hostile missive telling her what I thought and to stop using my account immediately.

Upon discussion with Bick, I've decided to take the following action - after my aunt's all-family 80th birthday party on Saturday and after Mother's Day on Sunday - say in about a week: I am going to insist that she get her own bank account. I'm only going to say that it's no longer comfortable for me, that seeing how she is going through her money makes me very upset and that she needs to find another alternative. I've learned that I cannot stop her from spending herself into destitution, but I don't have to be a part of it, nor do I have to be aware of every dollar she spends. So she needs to get her own bank account. I suggested this when she moved into my house, that many of our disagreements were financial in nature and that I wanted to be untangled from this interwoven web of crap and dependency, but she says that she doesn't have any other options. I think she's too ashamed of facing her crap that she won't even try. My sister is in exactly the same boat - neither have any sort of bank account.

The problem is that she has written so many hot checks in the past, that she feels she can't get another bank account (she knows enough to know that she can't/won't handle a checking account appropriately). Bick seems to think that she can get a savings account which would suffice. So I am going to take the lead and find a bank that will open an account for her, go and talk to them, explain the situation and give mom a name to go in and talk to. I guess this is enabling her to get around the consequences of her actions/shame in her inability/unwillingness to be fiscally responsible, but it does get me out of the business of getting amped-up everytime she does something stupid. Again, I'll warn of her of the impending doom and that she cannot depend upon me to bail her out, give her the information and a timeline and be prepared for the onslaught. Perhaps if I'm prepared and in deflective mode, it won't be so bad. The good news is that I feel like I've got a plan that allows me to protect myself and to deal with her with some degree of compassion. And I was so blind to just wanting her stop having money put in the savings account that I stupidly allowed her to use years ago, that I couldn't see my way to a way out other than using TNT.

So Bick and I spent the evening monogramming our matching family baggage - his with Sandy and mine with Mom.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Don't wait until you are 47 to grow up.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Seeking comfort

Pebbles and I had an interesting conversation the other evening. We were talking about her sometimes excessive need to stay in bed/sleep. She pointed out to me that taking to her bed/bedroom was a habit she developed as a kid when she was sad or felt overwhelmed. She regarded her room and bed as a safe and comfortable place, and she still does. So while I sometimes worried about her not wanting to get out of bed, she tells me that when she finds that she wants to stay in bed, she realizes that her life is moving a little too fast for her and she uses that time to figure out how to get back on track. She isn't sad or depressed, just needs to find a comfortable place to regroup and to reassert herself into her life.

I think being able to self-sooth or self-comfort in a healthful manner is one of the most important skills a person can have. I know it's taken me years to even recognize it as a concept, much less teach myself more appropriate behaviors in response to stressors.

Pebbles also talked about my reactions to such stressors. She said she could name the timeframe based upon my response. In the 80s? I would throw things. Lots of broken dishes around my house. In early 90s? Lots of yelling. By the early 00s - tears if I was feeling overwhelmed and now, the reactions are not so strident. It's interesting to hear her perspective on how my reactions to things have matured through the years. And it warms my very soul to hear her be so self-aware at such a young age.

Had a good spin class today, although the term is now pretty much over. I'll have no structured classes to attend for several weeks. I'll have to dig up some motivation somewhere! I did receive a lovely compliment this week, albeit in a rather uncomfortable situation. The assistant gym director is a woman whom I have known for about twelve years. We were changing clothes in the locker room when she told me that she had never known anyone to be as successful as I have been in losing weight and keeping it off for such a long time. It was a nice attabroad.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find that comfortable place.


Monday, May 5, 2008


All things considered, it was a decent weekend. Lots of talk surrounding Sandy, of course. Bick has pretty much resigned himself to the fact that he is powerless to influence much in Sandy's life at this point. In his view, these types of issues are the very reason he divorced XMB - her unwillingness and/or inability to set any sort of limits or boundaries for Sandy. I expect this is part of the reason that the XMB developed a migraine on Friday and couldn't meet with Bick to discuss Sandy. And Bick had figured out that Sandy had gone to Austin/Houston and if the XMB didn't flat out lie about it, she certainly wasn't forthcoming with the complete truth. So I was off the hook, but as C said, I did have the obligation to tell Bick what I knew and I had already changed my mind about it, but he figured it out for himself before I even got home.

He has made some decisions for himself, however. He is no longer in the business of financing her education. His new business is reimbursement of educational expenses at the end of a semester for grades of C or better. I think he should set the bar to Bs, as Cs don't do her any good - she's in too big a hole, but that's his call. And all of this is assuming that she is actually eligible to return to her current junior college in the fall. Unfortunately the upfront financing of Sandy's tuition, etc. will fall on XMB, but Bick's thought is that perhaps she will step up and be a bit more involved if her wallet is on the line.

Of course, none of this takes into account her lack of health insurance. He pays the XMB to carry Sandy, as her insurance is better, but XMB's insurance requires full-time status. Sandy is no longer a full-time student, so Bick is in a pickle about what to do here. He's checking to see if his insurance has the same stipulation of full-time student status. He said that he will continue to cover her health insurance, if he can take her on to his policy.

There's more to say about all of this, but it's just churning I suppose, and does no one any real good.

I had a good four mile run on Saturday morning, unfortunately it happened when I was trying to do six! I finished, albeit slowly and didn't suffer much the rest of the day. We headed to Reata South and didn't finish our overly-ambitious agenda, but we can pick that up another day. What we did do, we did well and that gave us both a nice sense of accomplishment. The weather for lovely for the entire weekend.

Sunday found us engaging in a little retail nursery therapy - I needed a few more herbs for the garden and of course, you can always find "gotta-haves" when you visit the growers this time of year, so we puttered around in the garden for several hours on Sunday morning and then removed the secondary walkway to the patio/porch. And then we sat down and admired our progress.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Tough love is, well, tough.


Friday, May 2, 2008


Pebbles had a site meeting at the bank building site that she is working on. It is somewhat near the house, so when she finished the meeting, she headed up to Reata North. She stopped by and picked up dinner for the three of us and hung out until after 9pm. It was great to just see her sprawled out on the couch, poking through the fridge and acting like she owned the place. It was, however, hard on Bick, I think. He told Pebbles how highly he regards her and she told him that she was an absolute ass when she was Sandy's age. I don't know if it made him feel any better. And she was an ass at times, just not about any of the same things that Sandy is doing. Partly because I've never been afraid of being Pebbles' parent rather than her "friend". 18 year old girls do not need friends - they need parents.

And things with Sandy appear to be getting worse - if there was anything left to salvage with this semester, she's pretty much thrown it away by leaving for a long weekend in Austin, a flight to Houston for some concert, right in the middle of finals week. Bick talked to XMB last night who told him of her plans and the two of them agreed that she shouldn't be allowed to go, but Pebbles called me this morning to say that Sandy's socialnetworkingsite was updated this am to say that she was in Austin. I am not going to tell Bick - he can find this out for himself.

He and XMB are meeting tonight to discuss things, but I think the outlook is bleak - both for Sandy's future and for she and her Dad's relationship.

Update: Meeting with Bick and XMB has been postponed until Monday. Don't know why.

We are heading out to Reata South to continue some home repair/improvement that needs taken care of out there. I am working really hard not to start a new project before completely finishing the last one. So, it'll be new fascia boards, new paint and a new window pane for the shop, plus, time permitting, repairing a hole in the floor. If we get that done it will be a miracle.

I'm also planning to get in a four mile run in the morning.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Patch where necessary.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

A self-inflicted massage

Restorative yoga is almost nearly, but not quite a massage. I leave the class feeling that good. It feels like a million years since the last class. It is amazing how much tension a body can build up. And it's amazing to feel the body releasing that tension. Aaaaaahhhhhh.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take a yoga class. If you don't like that one, find another.


Were you surprised? I wasn't.

Well, crap. Turns out Sandy is still at it. Exhorbitant, non-emergency charges on Bick's stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road for emergency use only credit card. For the fourth month running. He pulled the card last night and then decided to see how her school was progressing - believing her up to this point when she said everything was going just fine. She'd dropped two classes, taking her out of full-time student status and leaving her without health insurance coverage. I don't expect much in the way of stellar academic performance when the grades for her other classes are tallied. She's now used all of the drops that she's allowed under Texas law for public higher ed students.

Bick and the ex-Mrs. Bick are going to have to work together to get this kid refocused. I echoed Lyn's very wise advice regarding depression and suggested that a professional family "facilitator" might be in order.