Family Time

I’m brewing up a big pot of split pea soup this afternoon and I have a homemade loaf of bread rising on the counter. My brother and his family are coming over this afternoon. I’m excited to have them. The kids all play sports and now I live an hour away, so we rarely see each other anymore except holidays.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to talk to my older brother lately. He’s been with his wife since high school. The true definition of high school sweethearts. Somewhere throughout the years I stopped communicating with him and only talk to his family through his wife. So this month I’ve been sending him stupid texts, I’ve shared a few podcasts with him, and links to a few dumb articles. I figure we need to start our relationship somewhere.

I love my brother so much. He’s every bit of the stereotypical “big brother”. My protector. He’s opened his home up to me more times than I can count. He rented his house out to me after my major job loss a few years ago. They are my daughters godparents and are just the most amazing aunt and uncle my kid could have.

We don’t really have a balance relationship. It always me taking.

So I’m trying to turn that around a little bit and I’ve invited them over for dinner. I hope to God my soup turns out. I’m a little worried. There is always pizza delivery if it doesn’t so I’m not going to worry too much.

I hope everyone out there is having a great Sunday even if we just lost an hour of sleep. I’m looking forward to a great week ahead.

Let’s make some goals for the new week!  I’ll start thinking about what I want to accomplish and I’ll write a post summarizing them before bed tonight.


Saving Myself

So this is what I am thinking these days.  The world is in a crazy place. A couple months ago I turned the news off because I couldn’t live in that place any longer. There are so many things going on in the world that can make you feel so hopeless.  Endless wars. Sexual abuse. Greed. Politician robbing its citizens because they thing they are untouchable. It’s just too much.

I truly believe that what is happening in the world right now is a shift. Things cannot sustain themselves where they are right now. Logically think of it just from a resources stand point. Money isn’t endless. Our elected officials will die, retire, or get sick and will no longer be able to hold the positions they do now.  When this happens, I truly believe that either the next generation is going to take this shit over and fix it, or the earth will continue to purge us from existence.  It’s pretty simple in my head.

When I turned off the news, I started listening to podcasts. I drive two hours a day just getting to and from work, and during basketball season, I can spend up to an hour sitting in a parking lot. There are some days when I could literally blow through two-to-three podcasts a day.

I listen to a lot of different podcasts, some are NPR based like TAL or Serial, if you haven’t listened to S-Town stop everything you are doing and binge. I love human stories. Others that I have dabbled with have focused on parenting or personal development. Lately though, I have become obsessed the James Altucher podcast. I’m actually in love with him. He is so damn smart about everything and is so human and quirky and his life experiences have given him an amazing point of view on life. I seriously cannot get enough of his podcasts.

Tonight I listened to another great episode and that has inspired me to write this post and share it, in hopes that it inspires you the same way that it has me. Maybe it will give you a glimpse into where I am these days because the topic is everything about where I am right now.

Episode 319 – Cheryl Richardson. Personal Growth: How to Give Yourself a Radical Upgrade

I want to get in here and write so much more than I do. I’ve lost the rhythm I used to have when I would come in here and slam a post down in a few seconds. My world is very different and I am very different from who I used to be. So writing this here today has been motivated by my listening to this episode. Every sentence I’ve typed has been tough and I’ve struggled with flow, but I’m in here, I’m writing. I believe if I come in and do this more eventually I’ll find my new voice. I’m excited.

Books I’m buying on amazon tonight:

February End

I made it through February!  Amazing!  February is typically the black hole of depression for me, but this year I’m doing ok. I had some rough days, but overall I’m surviving. I can feel the daylight lingering a little longer on the drive home from work. Mornings on the commute in that bad boy is blinding me. Hope is alive and soon it will be the most glorious time of the year…summer!

Nothing really new around here. Things are stable which is actually pretty amazing. I’m in a good place financially. I have one major hurdle ahead and that is refinancing the new car once my credit hits a decent number, which I’m expecting will happen sometime next month.  Not sure if I mentioned in my big crybaby post last time, but I ended up with an auto loan with a pretty high interest rate due to the bankruptcy. Once I refinance the car things should be pretty smooth sailing. First time in my entire adult life where all the bills are all paid at one time and for two months in a row.

At the end of next month I start a new adventure. I’m going back to school to finish my bachelors degree. Work is going to help pay the cost so that is pretty amazing. I ordered my books on Monday and I got a notification that they will be delivered tomorrow. I’m equal parts excited and nervous. Not quite sure if the timing is right. Erin has two more years of school and I’m wondering if that’s actually the right time for me to withdraw. Based on her pulling away from me the older she gets, it might be the perfect time.

I actually could write an entire post about the irony behind what school I was accepted in. Maybe I’ll do that next. Anyway, it is a good school. It was actually my college of choice as a teen and I was discouraged from applying there by my counselor who said I “wasn’t smart enough” to attend. After I weighed out the degree programs that fit the parameters my employer would pay for, this school ended up being the best fit.

There was a lot of hesitation on my part to apply. The hurt and damaged little girl inside me was afraid to hear that I wouldn’t be accepted. Once I started the process though it went pretty smooth. I did have to write a letter about what exactly happened when I was 19. It was actually very cathartic to write it. I was able to explain what happened, how those circumstances affected the course of my life, and how I overcame.

When it was all said and done, I was granted full admission with a Junior standing!

I’ve got a full two years to finish and it’s the hard stuff. Not many fluff classes left. It’s going to be hard, but I’m ready. I have to do this for me. I’ve been joking that I earned my associates degree when Erin was in Kindergarten and maybe I can get my bachelors when she graduates. In reality that goal is a bit aggressive since I’ll only be taking two classes at a time.

Other than all this I’m so freaking busy at work. So busy I don’t know how I’m going to get all my work done and it keeps piling up by the second. I should have worked this weekend but I didn’t and I’m paying the price for it now.

Basketball season wrapped up for Erin so we should have some downtime down, which is an amazing thing. It was a brutal season and it may have had career ending consequences for my girl. It will be a real shame if that’s what ends up happening because the last two games she played, were the best games of her life.

That’s about all I’ve got right now. Time for bed!

Creating Lines

I logged into wordpress for the first time in almost a year last week. I thought about writing. I didn’t do it, but I thought about it. 2017 has been a weird one. I guess I’d say that it was very much a year of putting shit in the right place, drawing lines in the sand.

My bankruptcy should be finalized before the end of the year. I just dropped my last $223 money order in the mail yesterday. I keep thinking I should feel happier about it, more relief, but I don’t. I had a lot of doctor bills and I hadn’t charged on credit cards for years, so the actually process created a lot more expense than what I had been living with. Take for example my electric bill, had a $50 current bill, electric company got word of the bankruptcy, by policy wiped the $50 bill off their records, but then required me to put down a $250 security deposit. My car was the same way, I expected to just pay off the car and walk away without a car payment, but the credit union would release the lien on the car without me keeping the credit card I had with them and that credit card was pretty much the only consumer type debt I had. I ended up having to buy a new vehicle and now I have a car payment and I was really hoping for a year post bankruptcy where I could breathe a little bit.

Instead of writing here, I’ve really just been putting out fires such as the crap up above.

I’ve been lonely too. The year with the teen girl have been very isolating. I’ve never loved and been frustrated with the same person, at the same time, in my life before. These teen years aren’t just hard to live through, they are hard to watch someone you love go through as well. Having sympathy doesn’t seem to keep you out of the path of the teenage wrath though.

Work has been very challenging, high pressure, long hours. I don’t really love it, but I love my company and am sticking around because I think they are on to some great things. I’ve traveled to Phoenix once this year for training. My boss just wrote a really wonderful review about me that I was able to read this morning. The company is willing to send me back to school to get my BA. There may be a new job being created that I would be perfect for, but the minimum education needed is a BA, so working toward it could be a very good thing.

My depression has been debilitating. There have been moments where I think I should have myself committed. That maybe in that environment I can get the attention I need for medical professionals to find medicine that might help me. I don’t ever do it. So I just wallow.

I think it’s the world we live in. Everything just sucks.

My parents stopped talking to me in August. My mom is in a situation I cannot control because she has decided certain things in her life and she is in control of her own life, just like we make our own decisions for ours. I fear she will die and things will end like this.

Abuse sucks.

Life is about boundaries.

I’m learning boundaries.

I’m teaching a teen about boundaries.

Boundaries can make a person pretty lonely.


Traveling in the New World

I’m just home from a couple days of travel for work. It was a bit tough to get out of town, but once I was sitting in the plane, belted in, ready to take off, things were all in their place.

Getting Erin situated was the hardest. Single parenting isn’t necessarily hard every day, but when it comes to times like this, I long for having someone to have my back. I also get angry too. Angry that the people in my life are not the people I want them to be. My parents, Rob, Betty. I cope most days by focusing on their good qualities vs. bad, but when my balls are to the wall, their inadequacies are shining.

In the end, I let my guard down, and I accepted a very generous offering by one of Erin’s friends parents, and I let her stay with her for the three days I was away. As part of my ‘recovery’ I need to learn to trust and let the good people in. So this was HUGE for me. So funny, I have taken this friend on a one-day, 10 hour multi-state road trip / hiking  tour of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She’s been up to my parents house. I’ve been her girl scout leader. We are preparing to take an international trip with Girl Scouts in the next year or so. Clearly her mother trusts me with her daughter, why it isn’t so easy on the flip side, I’ll never know, but I’m going to learn.

It should come as no surprise, and we’ve talked about it a lot over the years, I’m a big girl. Like people stare at me in public big. Let me give you an example, this mother above, invited me out to breakfast last week before the girls basketball tournament and while we were sitting, talking, eating breakfast a random old man stopped by to tell me how fucking fat I was, just in case I hadn’t noticed it myself. I’m the kind of fat where I don’t dare put anything unhealthy in my grocery cart or else while in line, people will snicker and comment under their breath about how that’s why I’m so fat.

Now that we are living in a post-Trump world I expect this to get worse. In fact, when it’s all said and done, if Trump were to have his wish, I’m sure there will be a special rehabilitation camp for people like me where we get government mandated time away from work, paid, and we will perform Biggest Loser type workouts until the weight is gone. Reconstruction surgery is even going to be covered and boob implants will be free in order to increase the beautification of the general American woman. I’m sorry to say, those who fail the program will face euthanasia. I even heard he’s going to personally host a reality show featuring these morbidly obese fat fucks like myself.

Anyway, I digress, back to my trip. Traveling as a fat person is like this. From the moment you come into contact with the first person traveling, you are met with eyes singing a chorus of, “God, I hope she isn’t sitting next to me.”  This chant gets louder and louder the closer you get to your gate and by the time you are waiting to board the plane people gasp and roll their eyes and make comments under their breath.

When I heard I had to travel for work I put a plan together on how I was going to handle this situation and this is how it went:

Me:  “Hi! How are you today?” (with a beaming, I’m so fucking friendly smile, there is no way you can hate someone with so much love beaming from a fucking smile, can you???)

“I’m unexpectedly traveling for work and as you can see, I’m a big girl and I’m pretty nervous about crowing the space next to another passenger and I really don’t want to end up on the news or on a viral internet story. Please know that you can move me around as you see fit in order to keep everyone comfortable.”

Airline Worker: (with a beaming, I’m so fucking happy to help you smile) “Let’s see what I can do for you so that you are more comfortable.”

Me:  “This is not about me being comfortable, I just don’t want to cause problems for other passengers.”

Airline Worker:  (type, type, type, type…printing a new boarding pass) “Here you go Catherine, you are going to be very comfortable in this seat. (again with ME being comfortable, didn’t she hear me?!?!? This isn’t about me, or is it? Am I worthy of being comfortable? God, I never thought about that. What a shame.)

Me: “Thank you so very much” (with my eyes filling with tears)

And I had that exact conversation on the way home and received the same result. I was happily moved to a place that had an empty seat next to me and the other passenger. If I ever have to fly again, I’m tell you, it will be American Airlines all the way. I wouldn’t even risk it. I had never flown with them before and my experience was superior to anything I had experienced before.

I’m catching up on laundry, putting the house back together and thinking about all that I learned over the past couple days away training. Erin is heading out to a play with a friend in about an hour and I’ll have the house to myself. I’m looking forward to it. I wasn’t away long enough for the teenage chip on her shoulder to fall off. Plus I guess I pissed her off when she saw this post on Facebook:

Apparently, this translated to a teenager as:

“I’m so fucking happy I’m not in Michigan with my despicable teenage daughter. Fuck you. And while we are at it, fuck Michigan too!”

So that we can clear the air, my not in Michigan comment was about me appreciating the fact that I’m in a different part of the world than I would have normally been and there was a FUCKING MOUNTAIN IN FRONT OF ME and I was so stressed I didn’t even realize it until I looked up and that was a fucking shame. Plus, there are no mountains in Michigan. Mountains are pretty. Especially to people that live in Michigan where there are no mountains. I apologize to the entire state by dissing you with my thoughtless comment.


Back to laundry my friends, hope all is well in the world you live in.