Friday, May 27, 2011

H for Helpless (A for Angry)

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHRAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (That’s a primal scream in bloggy speak.) I am so frustrated, lovely reader!!! It seems as soon as life starts to go well and I start to feel good and energized and just positive in general, something has to happen to damper that. And usually it's family drama.

Soooooooo, there’s no delicate way to say this, and I’m honestly not thinking incredibly coherently right now due to a weather system induced migraine (yay for crap weather moving in right before the long weekend), but I had to get it out. My middle sister was beaten by her “fiancé” last night. In front of her kids. (Yes; again.) But this time? It was worse.

This time, my 10 year old nephew tried to intervene to save his momma. He gave it his all—throwing some of his biggest and heaviest toys at his dad. (Thankfully dad was far too busy beating up mom to worry about striking back at his son.) And this time, her “fiancé” tried to strangle her. Thankfully the kids weren’t there for that last part, because my sister had screamed at my nephew to get his sister (my 5 year old niece) and go outside and call 911. What a lovely way to celebrate niece’s pre-school graduation day, huh?

Thankfully (also), my sister and her neighbors had their patio doors open to let in our lovely spring weather, which meant the neighbors heard everything, resulting in two neighbors calling the police. The bastard got away before the police got there, and my sister didn’t want to press charges lest he lose his job and get even more angry at her, so as usual there were virtually no consequences for him. Except, of course, that sister is done with him. He is not welcome back at their home. She is going to change the locks.

I should be happy that my sister is finally done for good. But, I’m really not. It’s hard to be happy when all I want to do is scream and cry, and I’m so angry that I can barely contain it and feel as though my body could just burst into flames, creating a giant explosion of fury such as has never been seen. She’s been “done for good” too many times now for me to believe that this time it’s really true. I wish it was. I want so much for it to be true. But, I just can’t get my hopes up.

I am almost incomprehensibly angry at my sister. (I am, of course, angry with her abuser too, but he’s a lost cause and has been dead to me for a while now.) I’m ashamed to say it out loud, or type it rather, but I’m really angry at her. She’s always been selfish, but seriously how selfish can one person be and for how long? If she doesn’t want to save her life for her, then why not at least do it for her kids? How about thinking about them for a change? How about thinking about what you’re doing to the rest of the family? Haven’t we all been through enough? I know that last part makes me sound like the selfish one, and I'm okay with that.

It’s too bad my youngest sister, Kristine, was cremated, and thus doesn’t have a grave. She’d probably be rolling over in it. And, it would be easier to watch my middle sister go and desecrate Kristine’s grave than to desecrate the memory of her by refusing to learn from her circumstances. I wish I could drive middle sister to Kristine’s grave right now and say, “HERE! DANCE ON IT!! SPIT ON IT!!!! Do it NOW! Because you know what? That's EXACTLY what you’re doing by continuing to live this life!”

I am livid for my nephew and niece. They didn’t ask for this life. They should not have to live like this. Statistics show that, simply as a result of living in a home with domestic violence, my nephew is highly likely to become an abuser and my niece is more likely to become a victim of abuse. I know that people say statistics lie, but these ones don’t. I know that for a fact. Because my sisters and I all grew up to be victims as a result of watching my mother be both a victim and a perpetrator. So far, I’m the only one who’s managed to escape. (Not without a lot of work on my part.) And, thankfully, my brother doesn’t seem to be an abuser, but then again, he hasn’t been in a relationship for a long time. (Still, his overly laidback genes, which he got from my father, I think prevent him from being capable of being a batterer.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you already know the fate suffered by my youngest sister. I don’t want to watch my middle sister suffer the same fate. I honestly don’t know if I can survive such an ordeal again. I know I probably sound selfish and terrible and awful. And I feel awful. But, I’m at my wits end. I don’t know what to do or say or think or feel anymore.

I feel helpless. One of the main reasons I wanted to become a social worker, and work so hard towards that goal, is to help victims of domestic violence. But, I'm not in social work school yet, so I don't have the appropriate tools to help my sister. That doesn't prevent me from trying, of course. I have done so much research on domestic violence, and I understand why it’s hard for women to leave. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for my sister though. Especially given her past, her life experiences (our shared experiences), and the support her family has offered.

Last time there was an “incident” between middle sister and her “fiancé,” MusicMan and I helped her search for apartments, offered to pay her security deposit, offered to give her one of our TV’s (we don’t need two after all) and buy her a laptop, help with finding furniture, help her move, etc. All because she was “done for good” and we wanted to show our love and support. She turned around and basically slapped us in the face by going back to him. That can’t happen again.

I’m ready to issue an ultimatum to my sister. Either this is it and she's really done for good, or I’m done. Completely and for good. And unlike her, I mean it. I will full on admit that it’s more for self-preservation than anything, but she’s really left me with no other choice. Along with that, I will do everything in my power to see her kids removed from her home. My mother has threatened to take them away before. I will do everything in my power to help with that. If she wants to continue down this self-destructive path, she can, but she cannot drag her kids down with her. Not if I can help it anyway.

I cannot—will not—stand by and watch her succumb to her awful decisions. I can’t. I just can’t.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

L for Lovin' It

It’s finals week. I’ve been beyond stressed. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know it’s that kind of stress that completely paralyzes you, thus preventing you from actually completing the things you need to get done. It's totally my fault. I procrastinated and I am really too much of an overachiever at times.

By writing this post, I am procrastinating even more (I don't learn lessons sometimes...or maybe some habits are just hard to break.) and further delaying the inevitable: my Philosophy of Religion final. It’s the only thing I have left to do to complete the semester. It’s the only thing standing between me and two whole weeks of vacation from school and homework. Unfortunately, it’s a 3 hour essay exam, and I’ve already checked out for the semester. I have until midnight tonight to take it, so it’s going down tonight after dinner, whether or not I feel ready.

In the mean time, none of the things bouncing around in my head are themselves worthy of a full blog post, so I thought I’d give you a quick list of things I’m loving and things I’m hating loving not so much at the moment.


Dansko shoes. It took me a bit of work to figure out which European size I needed to accommodate my rather large, rather wide feet, but once I got it figured out, I fell in love. I am not the type of girl who falls in love with shoes. Seriously. Ask anyone who knows me. To me shoes serve an imporant function, but they are hardly worth loving. I most certainly am not accustomed to paying more than like $20 for a pair. However, in the past month, I’ve purchased three pairs of Danskos. My justifications for these purchases (not that I need to justify them) are as follows:

(1) I have a surplus of money now that I’m no longer wasting it on cigarettes, junk food, and fast food. I seriously just do not seem to spend money anymore. It’s mind boggling how much money I used to spend on cigarettes, lunch, and snacks every single day. Now, I allow myself to purchase lunch as a "treat" every week, but that's about all the money I spend.

(2) The shoes are very well made and sturdy, which means they should last at least a few years, which is something my Payless cheap shoe buying self isn’t used to. The price of one pair divided by the number of years I’d expect them to last (3-5) makes the price of each pair much more reasonable.

(3) I purchased the first pair at a greatly reduced price—they are a season or two old (a detail that doesn’t matter to me) and I found a fantastic online sale. I thought they were too small, so with the intention of returning them, I went to an actual shoe store to get sizing advice before reordering from online. There, I fell in love with and purchased the second pair. (Because I'm a sucker for shoes that make my giant feet look cute and small.) Days later I realized the first pair was actually a size large than the second, and thus were not in fact too small but just needed to be broken in. I therefore decided to keep the first pair. You’ll note that the first two pairs are more dressy type shoes; they’re meant for work. Of course, I needed a casual pair too, and the embroidered clogs were just too cute to resist.

Adele’s 21 Album. It’s so full of awesome. The girl can sing! Love, love, love, love, love this album. So much. It’s on continuous play in my car.

Fage Greek Yogurt. This yogurt rocks my socks off! It’s so rich and creamy that it almost seems too good to be true. A decadent indulgence, it’s become a staple in my diet (and Musicman’s too). Costco sells large tubs of the plain for a very reasonable price, so we stock up each week. I love the versatility of the plain—I’ve found about a gazillion ways to flavor it. My favorite, by far, is mixing a tablespoon of lemon curd into a cup of yogurt and letting it sit overnight. So freakin’ delicious! I never used to be a breakfast person, and now I look forward to breakfast every day. Because it’s packed with protein, the yogurt combined with some fruit and/or a bit of cereal for crunch keeps me full until lunch time.

Quinoa. Not only is it fun to say, but it's delicious and fun to eat too. There is something about the texture that I just love. Combined with blackbeans, corn, onion, and various seasonings (specifically cumin and cayenne), it makes a super delicious southwest-style salad. Yummmmmmmmmm!

Weight Watchers Points Plus Plan. I’m amazed at how well it’s working, and I truly don’t feel deprived at all. I still eat delicious pizza, cake, and cookies, but I’ve learned that moderation and planning are key. I’m finding that my tastes have changed too. For example, I now crave certain fruits and vegetables. I simply must get some fresh fruits and veggies in everyday or something feels off. (Though I do have to admit that tracking every single thing I eat gets tedious at times. The end result, however, is totally worth it.)

This semester is almost over. My two week "summer" vacation starts tomorrow, and though I have no grand plans, I couldn't be more thrilled. I swear this semester has been longer than any other over the past two years.

My husband. (Duh, right?!) I saved the best for last. What can I say? Musicman is amazing. He’s my rock, my inspiration, my head cheerleader, and my all around most favorite person in the whole wide world. I feel so fortunate to have found and married someone who is such a perfect match for me. Our marriage is more than just a partnership; we truly are best friends. I love that we are very like-minded, but different enough that we complement each other so well. He truly brings out the best in me, and I’m just loving having him by my side through this amazing journey we call life. I truly don't know if I'd have made it this far with school without his encouragement and support.

Loving NOT so much:

Asthma/Allergies. The ridiculous weather we’ve had in Minnesota (snowing and 40’s last week, 90 and humid yesterday) over the past month hasn’t helped, but I have been downright miserable more days than not over the past few weeks. I was forced to take a hiatus from running due to the fact that I just could not seem to breathe after a certain point. I’m sad. I miss C25K (kinda), and with how much time I’ve taken off, I feel like I’m going to have to start all over. If I ever manage to get the breathing thing under control, that is.

I had a physical last week and the doctor ran a bunch of tests, but I haven’t heard anything about results yet. She prescribed an inhaler that has yet to really make a difference, and she didn’t seem too concerned about the fact that I sometimes have trouble catching my breath after even the smallest amount of exertion—like carrying the laundry up the stairs. I’m frustrated and worried. What if it’s something serious like emphysema? I know I’m probably too young for that, but it wouldn’t entirely be surprising after all the years I smoked. I might need to seek a second opinion.Not being able to breathe is just not cool.

Work. More often than not, it is abundantly clear that this is just not the environment for me. How I’ve lasted at my company for 14 years, and in this job for about half of that time, is completely beyond me. Some days are so bad in terms of frustration and ridiculousness that I really question whether I can survive another few years here with my sanity intact.

Asshat Drivers. I think I may have mentioned before that I might possibly have a slight tinge of the road rage. It's one of the things Musicman loves about me. (No. Really. It is. He finds it Hilarious! Apparently I am a completely different person once I'm behind the wheel of a car.) Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than when Adele and I are belting out the performance of a lifetime in my car, and the beautiful moment is interrupted by my screams of “Way to go, douche!” “Learn to drive, twat waffle!” and “Die, asshat!” I cannot control this automatic response to the jackassery of the moronic drivers around me; it's hardcoded. I don't think it helps that people seem to assume that since I drive the cute, apparently feminine, VW Beetle that I don't mind being pushed around on the road. Yes! Go ahead and cut me off, because that totally makes my day. Said people quickly learn that they were incredibly wrong in their assumptions as the Bug's horn isn't as whimpy as one would think, and I use it often.

The Redesigned VW Beetle. I'm glad I got my Beetle when I did, because VW has totally ruined it! I read somewhere that one of their golas with the redesign was to make it more masculine. WHY?!? Why does everything in this world have to appeal to men? They've gone and completely ruined a classic because men needed a more manly car. Really?!? There weren't enough masculine options out there already?

Weather. It’s been an absolute roller-coaster of ridiculousness weather-wise here in Minnesota. Given how long the cold weather stuck around, I feared we’d end up skipping spring (one of my favorite seasons) and heading straight into the dog days of summer. And, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It was 90 degrees and stiflingly humid when I walked out of work yesterday. In other words, disgusting. With my birthday coming up in a couple weeks, all I’m wishing for is some lovely spring-like weather to offer an easy transition into the summer heat and humidity.

Also? Sandal season is coming. I want to order some Dansko sandals, because I’m betting they’ll be just as great as the shoes. However, I cannot justify spending a couple hundred more dollars on shoes. Sadly, the sandals I already have will have to get me through one more summer. (Or at least the next month or so. Maybe then I can justify buying at least one pair of Dansko sandals.)

What about you, lovely reader? What are you loving? What are you loving not so much? Any tips on how I can change my procrastinating ways?

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