Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

France Can Wait…

My mom comes into town next week.  I am thrilled by this, of course.  But, like most mothers and daughters, we have a, well, sort of unbalanced relationship.  We are best friends with complicated insights about one another.  Let’s face it, your other best friends never wiped your butt or saw you pick your nose AND your other best friends never came right out and said you were screwing up your life, even when you weren’t.  It’s not bad or good, it’s just complicated.  We can get under each other’s skin unlike anyone else, sometimes. 

My mom’s side of the family is notorious for showing love by, how can I put this nicely, being mean spirited assholes to each other.  My mom and my aunt have moved away from this type of behaviour but, essentially, it is a free for all at family reunions.  If someone has a soft spot, you can bet your last dime that it will be laid out and peed upon before the day is through.  Making fun of each other is what they do.  We’ve all gotten used to it and try our best not to retaliate. 

And, even though my mom has steered away from this terrible family tradition, she still manages to pull out some aces on me when we are together.  Currently, she finds it riotous to call me a yuppie.  I can’t recall I have ever heard her laugh as hard as when I told her I was folding laundry and then I was going to playgroup later that day. “Ooooooh, looks who’s the minivan driving yuppie!  Who would have THOUGHT!”… Yeah.  So, I take a deep breath.  “Mom, it’s not a minivan, it’s a crossover SUV/wagon - there’s a difference.”

My identity is something I am very protective of.  Not my “image” or my “style” - don’t get those things confused.  I have clung to my indentity since I can remember.  My ideals, my strengths, my opinions, my art, books that I love, people that I care about, places I have been - all of these things have created who I am, obviously.  And, I will admit, I had great diffuculty finding my way once I became a mother and, even more so, when I became a stay-at-home one.  But, I feel that - despite the suv/wagon crossover and the fact that I drive through starbucks occassionally and the fact that I only get to work in the studio once a week - I have stayed my course and can honestly say that I am becoming a better person and, yes, a good mother and wife.  I understand that the me of ten years ago would likely wage a protest if she ever heard the me of now say that it was important to be a good wife and mother.  BUT, the me of ten years ago had never met the wonderful people that are my husband and kids, so how could she have known how important it would be? 

So, why should it bother me when my mom prattles on about - “oh, lisa, remember - you were supposed to be living in France right now being an eccentric artist!  Ooooh, how the times have changed!!!”.  Why does it bother me?  It just does.  I guess because I want my family to understand that, sure, I mourn those things.  I feel sad, daily, about the youth that I didn’t have because I had a baby at 21 years old rather than to give it away (or worse). I guess I want to know that at least she thinks I have worked it all out the right way.  And, maybe the chortling is her weird, backwards way of giving it to me.  Hell, I don’t know.  I just know that France isn’t as important as it used to be - but it will be again one day.  And, making a political and philosophical arguement out of everything isn’t something I have to do anymore, not because I’ve gone soft-yuppie, but because I live it rather than talk about it. 

So, I guess I’ll take this as an opportunity to let her in to my world a little bit more.  I know we will have a blast.  And, I know that she really does approve of my life - more so than anyone else.  Maybe I can find a funny thread in her jokey-jokes.  We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.. I know she means no harm.. I guess it’s just my achilles heel.  Damn it, I guess this means I have to do more growing and finding my own confidence and crap like that.  Why can’t it be some one else’s turn to learn a lesson for a change???

Posted in Parenting, Communication, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Did You Really Just Say That Outloud?

It’s fair to say that I do my share of sticking my foot in my mouth.  But, there are some people on this earth that do it and don’t even realize that they are being total freakizoids… Yes.  I said freakizoids.

So, my husband’s new schedule has meant that he is gone three nights a week until 10pm.  The other days he is gone from 630am until 3pm.  We have some truly, and our only, romantic time at 3pm when we meet at our son’s school and we walk from our cars (which we parked very romantically next to each other) to our son’s school playground to pick him up at which time I hand off our daughter and the still unfinished to-do list and turn right back around and make my way back to my car at 315pm - which is when I shlepp off to work.  Yeah.  It’s loads of fun.

As I was divulging this information to one of my girlfriends the other day at pickup she said, and I’m not kidding you, “God, aren’t you scared that, with that kind of schedule, your husband might get all lonely and hook up with one of his students?”.

Ok. Um, what?  Yes, my husband is a college professor.  But, no, that does not mean he tries to hook it up with his students.  And it is completely beside the point that I used to be one of his students.  COMPLETELY beside the point.  And, exactly, what was my response supposed to be to that?  “Oh, yeah, we’re totally cool with each other like that - you know, I don’t want to hold him down….” - wait, wait, sorry, I just puked in my own mouth a little just from typing it! 

I dunno.  I just wonder what would have to possess me to say something like that to someone about their husband.  I am completely aware that men think about sex like 75% of the day but I would never, ever, have the audacity to challenge someone’s marriage like that.  The reality is that, even despite our ridiculous schedule right now, our marriage is stronger than ever.  Infidelity is low on my list of concerns.  My husband is more concerned with getting time alone in his studio with his little clay sculptures than he is, any day, of getting in some little tart’s pants.  Of course I trust my husband.  I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and try to break into his work email - you know, just to see how he’s doing today…

Posted in Infidelity, Jealousy, Marriage, Sex | 3 Comments »

Making Room

A year or so ago, my husband and I had a long (weeks long) conversation about how to get past being moderately satisfied with your position (in every aspect) to becoming truly satisfied and fulfilled.  We set out on a journey, five years ago, that put us through much, unforseen struggle.  Being artists, we knew it was going to be hard but we really had NO idea.  Several years later we are doing really well - there is stability and satisfication in just about every realm of our life (knock wood, knock wood, knock wood).  What we can now see (god bless hindsight) is that the change (from struggling/ but still moderately happy to feeling in control and damn happy) happened because we, responsibly, made room.  That conversation that I mentioned was specifically about pinpointing the things that, although might be paying the bills, were not conducive to getting ahead.  The two major instances were me working during the day.  I wasn’t working at a job I particularly loved or wanted to make a career out of - but it had benefits, so we stuck it out.  My paycheck basically went to the nanny.  My husband juggled five different adjunct professor positions at five different Universities and several night time/weekend community education programs.  It was random, at best, and only moderately reliable but it too paid the bills.  What are jobs WEREN’T doing were allowing us to say “yes” to other opportunities or projects that might lead to other opportunities.  We were quickly becoming that statistic of American families that work but don’t really live.  So, very responsibly (we do have two kids to think about), we started culling the things we could and then made big changes altogether.  And, even though it is about making room, it is also about making a decision.  Not being aware that you could be doing more with your life is an easy trap to fall into and we almost did.  Being aware that you could be happier and not doing anything at all is even worse. 

I totally don’t mean to lecture - but now that I have reread what I have written I realize that is what it sounds like.  I am, really, only thinking outloud.  It is that time, for me, again.  Time to cull the things holding me back and embrace the things that will get me to my next step: graduate school.  And it’s not just graduate school.  It is getting my son into a better school.  It is getting my husband into better galleries.  It is finding a home to buy.  All my bemoanings about time this past week have been because I am at the beginning of a new journey and I guess I am feeling impatient.  I just have to take a step and a breath and make some room for all that I hope is coming next. 

Posted in Communication, School and Learning, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Love is a Many Freakish Thing

My brother finds himself in love.  It’s weird, once you’ve been there yourself, to see someone you know so well sucumb to the utterly miserable beauty that falling in love is.  I can remember it so clearly - the days of wondering if the feeling is mutual, everyone playing it cool so as not to scare the other off with the fact that- if you could have it your way - you would be on the phone or face to face 24hours a day with that person, or the feeling that you don’t need to eat or drink or sleep - you only need to be with that other person to be satiated.  God, I am so glad I am not there anymore. It almost feels like a sickness - but one that leads to, possibly, the greatest experience of your life.  

When I met my husband I was skeptical of all things good.  Granted, I had my reasons, but still I was pretty much in denial that anything good could come from being around a boy for any extended length of time.  We were such good friends to begin with that the fact that I was hopelessly in love with him totally crept up on me.  I can remember waking up one day, and almost as clearly as realizing that I had to go pee, I realized that I never wanted to spend a day apart from him for the rest of my life.  Then, the normal panic ensued and I began to act like I didn’t care - weird defense mechanisms we have, huh?  He was feeling it too but neither one wanted to anti up.  Thank god we came to our senses and stopped the madness.  We were married a year later and, now, we just ache when we see anyone we know trying to break down those barriers.  It’s hard, I think, for us to admit that we need someone sometimes.  It’s even harder to allow yourself to potentially be rejected.  So I’ll just sit and wait and watch and be as loving and supportive to my brother as I can.  It sure ain’t gonna be pretty to watch, but hopefully the outcome will be everything he has dreamed it could be.

Posted in Dating, Daily Living | No Comments »

You Say “Potato”, I Say “Damn It, Stop Being So Difficult”…

There are times in a marriage when you wonder how two people who are usually beaming with love and admiration for one another can be living in the same house with each other.  Occasionally it is unclear who is being the fussy one, perhaps it’s both of you, but the fact remains:  sometimes you just want to “accidentally” elbow your significant other in the face - or is it just me?

What is occuring to me is that it is never the big stuff that we get worked up about.  Perhaps that is the sign of a good marriage, which I know I have.  My marriage is impressive - even to me.  My husband and I manage to balance the important things and work through the tough things pretty remarkably well.  So, I guess it is perplexing to me when we have those days when something as small as a schedule change becomes reason for us to stay in seperate rooms and brood for most of the morning.  If we can stay strong through poverty and sick children and car accidents and career changes and dying pets you would think we wouldn’t be irked by the little stuff, no? 

It’s a funny thing.  People get married and they grow and they are forced to face who they are and who they aren’t in the presence of this one person for their entire life.  Basically, by getting married, we are challenging ourselves to be open to someone else owning a huge stake in our emotional landscape and in our future potential as a human being.  We are opening ourselves up for frustration and amazement.  We are saying “even though I can live a spontaneous life, I will respect the fact that you like to plan everything a thousand days ahead of time”.  And sometimes it’s irritating and sometimes it makes you roll your eyes so far back into your head that you are certain you can see your partner sitting behind you doing the same thing.  But, in truth, those days are few and far between.  Those days make you thankful for the other days - the days when you can’t take your eyes off of your husband as he gives your daughter a bath; those days when you come home from work to bottles of wine and etta james playing on the stereo; those days when you seem to laugh from morning to night.  It’s true that those days are the best and the most frequent but, on days like today, I can’t help thinking of a quote I once heard.  I think it was Rita Rudner.. It went something like this:  I love being married.  It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. 

Aaaaaand, sometimes, that about sums it up.

Posted in Marriage | No Comments »

Business is Business

I have learned a hard lesson. I have always wondered why people are hard nosed (and mean) when it comes to business. I never understood why - I always thought “well, geez, lighten up”. Now that I am dealing with sloppy ex-tenants/careless landlords and the contractors that we are paying to clean up their mess, I completely understand. If you don’t find a way to get the message across that you are not going to tolerate being taken advantage of, people will unfortunately walk all over you. I have been fighting this admission my whole life, but I am coming to find that it is (90% of the time) an accurate statement.

A few years ago, my very best friend adopted quite a tough minded mean streak. Through our teen years she was always the one sticking fun-yuns up her nose and doing cartwheels down the hall. She was as light of a personality as you could find. Then in her mid-twenties, she became very edgy and dealt with any money exchange manners in a way that I felt was, at the least, very counter to her personality. She was just downright mean - a ballbuster to the ‘enth degree. She came right out and said that it was because she was tired of being taken advantage of because she was nice. “Oh” I thought, “that is so horrible… You can still be nice and expect to be taken seriously”. What I am finding out is that what I was interpreting as her being a hardass was, indeed, just her being very clear and direct about what it was that she needed and what she expected and what she felt she deserved. It doesn, entirely, come across as difficult - but I am finding that it is necessary in this world to make sure that you aren’t getting steamrolled.

So, I am trying on my stern hat and (after the housecleaner left the house unmopped after I wrote her a check for $150 to scour the place from top to bottom) I am going to have to handle this move with utter directness. The days of me acting like a kid who doesn’t deserve to be given the same quality as a rich middle aged businessman are over. My money is as good as theirs and, quite frankly, is much more difficult to come by. Hopefully, though, I will find a way to marry my inherent consideration for others with my necessity for quality assurance. I have a feeling it will come off as smoothly as Goldie Hawn playing the role of an intelligent woman though - not very convincing. Wish me luck!

Posted in Communication, Communication, Daily Living | No Comments »

Feelings.. Nothing More than Feelings…

People in Nashville don’t know how to drive. Period. When the light turns green, it takes them more than thirty seconds to actually begin to move, and, if you are unlucky enough to be the third or fourth car in line you have no chance of getting through the light. I immediately get angry because I know it has everything to do with them being on their phone or playing with their OnStar or Ipod or what ever other pricey distraction that they have in their car that keep them from actually driving. My kids are starting to hear me say not so nice things about people that I don’t know. It has become a serious source of stress for me these last few days. I know. I sound irrepressibly ridiculous and bitchy. So be it.

What I have come to realize (sorry, each of my little boring nuances always have to equate to a larger, deeper issue.. I know you are probably coming to roll your eyes each time I say “what I have come to realize”…) is that when I am stressed about anything “real” (kids, work, money) I tend to take it out on complete strangers. Does anyone else do this? My husband takes it out on his artwork, my son takes it out on me and I take it out on poor, unassuming strangers who are just trying to go about their day. I know I am doing it - I even have a little talk with myself about the fact that what I am feeling has nothing to do with these people - not even the annoying sorority girl in front of me in line at the bookstore who is talking very loudly on her phone about, like, how drunk she got last night and, like, how her daddy is going to be so mad because, like, he has to fix the SUV that he, like, totally bought for her for, like, her eighteenth birthday that her soooo cute boyfriend, like, totally dinged up by totally running into the corner of her sorority building.. It is not her fault that my son has gotten quite used to telling me “no” (he will, in fact, spell it out for me just in case I missed it the first time - “Did you hear me mom? N-O. I am not going to put my shoes on.”) and it is not her fault that my daughter has made a sprinkler out of her mango juice and is not only covered with it but sitting in a puddle of it in the middle of Borders. Yes, this innocent and dumb college girl might be everything I have ever fought against as a woman who prides herself on being well read versus being well laquered and liqoured - but, ultimately, I couldn’t care less anymore about what or who she is. She has just become my target for rage. Poor thing. What to do, what to do.

Part of me feels like it is good that I have found an outlet for my frustrations other than my kids and husband. I know plenty of women that use their husbands as punching bags when things get rough and don’t think twice about it. But, I guess my deal is that I don’t like feeling this sort of irritation at anyone - even people whom are living a rude existence. Maybe I need to start meditating again. Maybe I should have a go at Yoga again. Boxing maybe? Who knows. Isn’t admitting you have a problem the first step? Hi, my name is Lisa, and I have a rage against obnoxious and oblivious strangers problem and I need help. Thank you.

Ok. What’s next?

Posted in Conflict and Anger, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Getting to Know Your New Family

My husband’s parents are here for a three day visit and we are having such a fantastic time. There is ease in our interaction and there is great levity to our conversations. We sincerely know each other and, as it turns out, we really like one another a great deal. We treat one another like family. And I suppose that is as it should be. You would think that simply because you marry someone that you will be a big hit with their family almost immediately — however, that is not the case with everyone. Some people take some time to warm up to. Even though I have always been the easy going girl that is easy to get to know, in this instance and for the first time in my life, I have been hard to get to know for my in-laws. In fact, my sister-in-law has even said as much. Ouch.

Since my husband and I have only been married for two years, it is fair to say that I have only known my in-laws “pretty well” up to this point. We have our ups and downs — the typical things you sort out upon entering a family. I think they used to think I was uptight and judgemental — for some reason I come off this way to a lot of people and I have never quite understood it. They were very careful with what they said around me and how they behaved. I hated it. Uptight and judgemental are two of the farthest sentiments from what is truly going on in my mind. Thank god, they have finally realize that I am just a self-conscious, conflicted nerd. This realization, I think, has been the catalyst for great change. Spending the last two to four years simply getting to know one another has been simulteaneously the most wonderful and the most nerve-wracking thing in the world. Then a visit like this comes and you realize that there is no effort involved — that you have moved beyond being the “new girl” and that people are finally free to relax. Now we are spending our time doing better things than the ritualistic “getting to know one another” dance — we are enjoying one another…Aahhhhh… Turning corners is lovely.

Posted in Marriage, Daily Living | No Comments »

Software Fluke Causes Engaged Couple to Break Up After 5 Years of Dating

A woman using the Firefox web browser discovered her fiancé’s secret life by accident. Here’s a detailed account of what happened, and instructions on how to reproduce the “bug.” (from Bugzilla)

This privacy flaw has caused my fiancé and I to break-up after having dated for 5 years.

Basically, we share one computer but under separate Windows XP user accounts. We both use Mozilla Firefox — well, he used to use it more than I do but now we don’t really use it. The privacy flaw is this: when he went to log-in under his dating sites (jdate.com, swinglifestyle.com, adultfriendfinder.com, etc.), Mozilla promptly asks whether or not he’d like Firefox to save the passwords for him. He chose never, obviously. However, when he logged off his user account, and I logged onto my Windows XP account X amount of days later, I decided to use Firefox because hey — it loaded everything much more efficiently, was better to work on with website designs and is a lot more stable than IE7beta2.

Firefox prompted whether or not I’d like it to save my password for logging into my website. I chose never and changed my mind. I went into the Password Manager to change the saved password option from Never to Always and that’s when I saw all these other sites that had been selected as “Never Save Password.” Of course, those were sites I had never visited or could ever dream of visiting.

Then I realized who, how and what… and sh*t hit the fan. Your browser does not efficiently respect the privacy of different users for one system.

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Create 2 unique user accounts (for steps sake, let’s call the two accounts Joe and Mary) in Windows XP Home.
  2. Logout and sign-in under Joe.
  3. Open Firefox and go to an e-mail site or to jdate.com or wherever.
  4. Attempt to log-in to the site so that Firefox will ask whether or not you want your password saved.
  5. Choose not to save the password.
  6. After successfully logging in and having selected the “never save password” option, logout.
  7. Log-in as Mary and open Firefox.
  8. Browse, browse, browse… but you don’t really have to. Just go to “View Saved Passwords,” click on the tab that will show you sites to never save passwords for, and you’ll see whatever painful site Joe denied to save a password for.
  9. Break-up with fiancé.

Firefox should be respecting every single area of privacy per user on one system. It’s not doing that… I’m going to submit this as Major because not everyone shares one computer, but it should really be considered Critical.

Posted in Relationships, Conflict and Anger, Computers and Technology | 2 Comments »

Love and Marriage…. it’s not just an old Frank Sinatra song.

So today is mine and John’s anniversary. Two years ago today, we were married in a beautiful church in New Orleans with everyone we love around us. So much has happened since then.

We are phasing out of our newlywed years and getting down to the nitty gritty of what this married life is all about. Yes, we are best friends. Yes, we know one another better than anyone ever has or ever will. Yes, we make sacrifices for one another. But those of you who are married know the deeper issues; those days when you want to kill one another followed by a love stronger than you ever thought possible for someone other than your children; those days when you realize you are actually a better quality of person because of your other and vice versa; those days when you can look at each other and realize that the two of you have built an entire world consisting of children and pets and careers and homes and experiences that are strong and exists solely because of your love. Marriage is being able to throw a container of cottage cheese at your husband, thus starting a cottage cheese war, while you are both sobbing incoherent mutterings about everything being the other’s fault because you are both so exhausted from the eight-week-old baby hanging off your breast or in his tired arms at 2am and the five-year-old playing shoot ‘em up cowboy as loudly as he can for attention in the midst of a sexual drought that neither one of you can remedy due to the aforementioned state of exhaustion. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

I found a poem about a year ago and wasn’t smart enough to write down the author — it is so beautifully written that the creator deserves full credit and accolades. It says it better than I ever could, so enjoy. John, this one’s for you:

Anniversary
That you and I, I and you,
this twenty-fifth year after
you stamped your foot, shattered
the glass, and friends, so many dead
or forgotten, applauded in a ballroom
long abandoned, twenty-five years
of Monday good-byes, monthly wars
with stacks of bills, bags of garbage,
frozen gutters, nights filled
with pink medicines, fevered cheeks
on shoulders, the other hand reaching
for the pediatrician’s call, termites
chewing, and hours waiting
for the door to open, holding
our own daughter’s head vomiting
beer into our own leaking toilet,
that now, as mirrors mark the descent
of breasts, the tub catches silvered
pubic hair and our eyes wear pouches
and hoods, as though expecting rain,
that you and I could smell the salt
of each other, coming together after
long absence, silent, still, staring up
at the darkening ceiling, naked in a house
with empty, orderly bedrooms, the last
of dead roses and discarded boyfriends
tossed out, your hand touching mine,
our breathing slowing,
the wonder of it all.

Posted in Relationships, Marriage | No Comments »

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