Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Blog: Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor

I started a new blog called Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor for people who like to drink wine, but can't afford to spend a lot of money on a bottle. I will be focusing on wines between $5-$10.

It's still in its infancy but I'd love your feedback and ideas of wines to try.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I just finished reading Storms Can't Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce. This was the clearest, most practical book on Buddhism I've read so far. It was full of interesting insights and fundamental Buddhist truths. Most of which are probably pretty readily found in other books, but the particular application to coping with divorce naturally hit home for me.

I'm still trying to absorb it all, but the fundamental Buddhist truth that we are all seeking to attain happiness and to avoid suffering hits home for me. I know that this has been the primary motivator for most of my actions throughout my life.

I see how I subscribe to self-cherishing and how this aided in the failure of my marriage. Rather than reacting with compassion I acted out of anger. When my husband did things to ease his own suffering that caused me pain I retaliated.

This doesn't excuse the very hurtful things that he did to me or that I did to him, but it does help me to have compassion toward him and myself.

I want to continue this excavation of my thoughts and Cohen suggests several books to help, but there are so many to choose from, I'm not sure what to choose. Any suggestions for what I should read next?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


My dad called on his way home from work Thursday evening to let me know that he was driving by the lodge where G and I got married and it was on fire. By the time he got there most of it had already burned down.

It was a beautiful building and I feel awful for the people who worked there. They were very gracious and had helped us plan a very nice event.

At the same time, the thought of it no longer being there is kind of cathartic. It's like nature's way of annulling the marriage.

(Picture by Hans Thoursie.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 30: Saved By The Alarm

Despite the fact that I triumphed by finding a rolling pin for $7.99 at Safeway (compared to the $30 at Fred Meyer), by the time I got home from work today I was racked with intensely painful emotions. Even my roommate noticed that I wasn't my usual self.

Normally I try to "snap out of it" by the time I get home, but tonight I was determined to wallow in my self pity. Until the alarm rang at my roommate's office and he had to go check it out.

I wasn't sure what to do after he left so I decided to meditate. It was an intense session filled with waves of self doubt, self pity, anger, sadness, jealousy, impatience, guilt and fatigue. A lot can happen in fifteen minutes! But afterward I actually felt better. Nothing about my circumstances had changed, but I guess the landscape of my mind did.

(Picture by Craig Jewell.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 28: I've been replaced

Unlike me she keeps her razors in my shower. Her toothbrush sits on my sink. And her key probably works in my door.

I know I shouldn't let this bother me. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

What "kills" me is that I'm paying for the place where she sleeps with my husband.

I say kills because yesterday my heart ached so intensely I irrationally believed I might die from the pain.

But as the cliche goes: this morning was a new day. I woke up. I did yoga. I cleaned. I talked to my dad.

It still hurts when I think about it, but I know it won't crush me.

(Thanks to Alicia Solario for the photo.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 25: Up In Smoke

I was going to quit smoking today, but then I checked the joint bank account that I share with the eventually-to-be-ex for our joint bills which only has $43 in it and I freaked!

I kept thinking "Why is this happening to me?" "What did I do to deserve this?" "Why does everything have to be a challenge?"

But maybe that's the point. Maybe I was seeing the situation all wrong. Instead of thinking "I can't handle this" maybe I should have been thinking "Thanks for this opportunity to grow and really see what I can handle."

(Photo by Vivek Chugh. Thanks!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 24: Wishful Thinking

I spent much of my life thinking it would magically be better if I were dating someone or married. Actually, that I would be better. I thought the magic lover would cure me of my imperfections. I thought that kind of love would transform me -- make me beautiful, graceful, rich, smart, creative....

But when I was with G I spent the majority of the time thinking it would get better when if I were single.

Turns out I'm stuck with my imperfections either way.

(Thanks to Stephen Wall for the photo.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Day 23: Scheduling

I'm really enjoying the new morning routine with yoga and meditation, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all I "have" to do in a day. Here's what a typical day looks like for me:

6:00 am - Wake up
6:15 am - Do yoga for 20-25 minutes
6:45 am - Meditate for 15 minutes
7:00 am - Feed Tater
7:05 am - Prepare food for the day
7:10 am - Make sure Tater goes to the bathroom
7:15 am - Pick out clothes for the day and iron if needed
7:20 am - Shower and get ready
7:45 am - Leave for work
8:30 am - Work
11:30 am - Lunch
12:30 pm - Back to work
5:30 pm - Go home
6:30 pm - Play with or walk Tater
7:00 pm - Make Dinner
7:30 pm - Eat & Watch TV
8:30 pm - Read blogs
9:00 pm - Write blog
9:15 pm - Meditate
9:30 pm - Get ready for bed
9:45 pm - Read
10:00 pm - Sleep

(Thanks to Jade Colley for the image.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Day 21: Phase 2

I'm officially incorporating yoga into my practice as of today thanks to Baron Baptiste's 40 Days to Personal Revolution. I'm now committed to practicing every day and I'm actually really nervous. It will be best if I can do it in the morning, but this means I have to get up early enough.

This first week's practice is only 20 minutes a day, but the length of practice will increase over the next six weeks to 90 minutes. That means I would need two hours just to practice yoga and mediation before I go to work. I leave at 7:30 am so I'm going to have to get up at 4:30 am to have time to practice and get ready. I'm not sure I can do it, but I need to try.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Day 19 & 20: Letting Loose

(Photo by Dominic Morel)

On the way to the Lowbrow after work Friday, I accidentally invited an attractive stranger to come with us. Fortunately, he had other plans so he didn't stay with our group for long, but one of my friends did convince me to give him my business card. Hopefully he won't contact me.

The thought of being in a relationship still makes me sick to my stomach, but it was nice to get some attention, though. I even managed to flirt with a cute pool player at Henry's!

I spent a lot of money and drank a lot, but all in all it was a good night. I even went to a strip club, Sassy's, for the first time. But the best part was that this morning I woke up feeling lighter and only slightly hung over. I wouldn't necessarily suggest drinking instead of meditation, but for some reason it seems as though it was, for once, the right thing for me to do.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Day 18: Breaking through the wall

This afternoon, I hit a major slump. It was a pretty emotionally trying day for me dealing with frustrated subscribers, constant interruptions and some intense criticism.

By the time 3:30 rolled around, I had to take a break so I walked through the mall that is attached to my office building. As I walked I acknowledged that I was exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed and that this was intense, but it would pass.

And it did. I got back to my desk, drank a liter of water, cleared out my inbox and tackled my tasks. Then it was time to go and I realized I was feeling just fine and I hadn't succumbed to any of my vices. No cigarettes or ice cream or impulsive purchases.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 17: Indulgence is not self care

It occurred to me as I was smoking a cigarette after work this afternoon and watching the sun set turn the clouds pink that I haven't been taking care of myself.

It probably seems crazy, but I think I've been deluding myself into thinking that by giving into my vices (eating comfort foods, smoking, drinking wine) I was supporting my distressed emotional self. But at that moment it hit me that those behaviors are not true self care.

This epiphany, however, did not stop me from drinking two glasses of red wine with dinner. Nor did it stop me from eating ice cream for dessert or smoking another cigarette later. (Did I mention I had a milk shake with lunch?)

(Image provided by Gravity X9)

So here is where it becomes tricky for me. I know that I need to change my behaviors in order to truly take care of myself in this stressful phase of my life, but that realization doesn't make the impulse to indulge go away.

From what I've been reading I don't think meditation will take it way either as I had originally hoped. But what I've read meditation can do is train me to wait out the impulses and then make better choices. This concept is both alluring and terrifying for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Day 16: Just Do It

Today I really didn't want to practice and I've been struggling with what to write. I still haven't settled on anything other than "I did it anyway."

I managed to eek out 10 minutes of mindfulness practice this evening. I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't taken Tater for a walk and been awestruck by the starry night sky and I was wondering how I might use it as analogy on this blog.

I know that's totally cheesy, but as I was following the guided meditation practice when I got back to the house, the instructo explained that we should focus on the mind, which is like the sky, and to let the thoughts float by like the clouds.

It helped to have something to visualize while meditating tonight because my mind was so reluctant to practice.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Day 15: What Makes Us Valuable?

As I was leaving work the other day the question "What makes us valuable?" popped into my head.

Is it our work? Our contribution to society? How we look? How we perceive ourselves? How many people love us? Our personalities?

When my mom was here over Thanksgiving this concept came up again. I mentioned to her that a friend I spent a lot of time with earlier this summer had stopped calling me. I admitted to being conflicted about this. On one hand sad about this because I had kinda hoped it would become more than a friendship some day, but on the other hand the thought of being with someone else makes me want to vomit.

She nailed it when she said that what I really wanted was someone to want to be with me to make me feel valuable.

As I left work today, this idea came up in my mind again. I realized that my insecurity was always there. Raw and desperate. Being with my ex only exasperated the intensity of my pain because he had a way of making me feel worthless. But he was only able to do this because it resonated with what I was already telling myself. Now, without the ex, I'm much better off without him demeaning me, but I won't be free until I learn how to stop belittling myself.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 14: At A Loss

Strangely, while Tater and I were practicing a guided mediation from How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life my mind was a buzz, but now that I'm trying to think of what to blog I'm at a complete loss.
(Image provided by Dan Shirley.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 13: A New Approach

For the last couple of days, I've been taking a different approach to dealing with the stress of my divorce. Rather than ruminating about it and worrying about handling it perfectly, I've taken to deliberately forgetting about it for short periods of time.

For example, I woke up this morning with the awful thought that maybe the ex hasn't changed the locks after all. I remember vaguely that the lock was stiff because of some work we had done to realign the door. Maybe I just didn't try hard enough to turn the key. We tossed around the idea of trying it again, but I realized that would accomplish nothing positive so we stuck to the original plan: we went to Multnomah Falls.

Then we went and had amazing 30 minute massages at Beyond Bliss. Talk about letting it all go! That was probably the most therapeutic thing I've done since the separation.

Naturally, the issues of the divorce don't just go away because I stop thinking about them for a while. For instance, I still want to get the last of my stuff from the condo, but now I fear that I am completely at the mercy of the ex to make that happen and I hate it. I can't wait until I am fully out of his grasp. But right now I'm not sure how I should proceed in negotiating the release of my things. So I will wait until I do. This exemplifies the crux of the internal battle that has waged war in my soul during this process.

For me, one of the biggest challenges of this whole divorce process has been knowing when to stand up and fight and when to relax and let things unfold. This continues to be a mystery to me, but for now I intend to do as Baron Baptiste suggest "let go and let good." I'm going to trust that it will all work out in the right time and the right way and that I will be guided when and how to act. Hopefully, it will work out that way.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 12: Retail Therapy

Today my mom and I had planned to go to my condo and get the last of my stuff from the ex's clutches, but it appears that when he sent me the following e-mail, "After further thought I am not okay with your plans to come to the condo while I am not around to remove articles from the house. I am not arguing with you about this", he really meant, "Don't bother coming over to get the last of your stuff like we discussed a couple of weeks ago. I changed the locks and you're not going to be able to get in."

My mom and I were both frustrated, but this latest play from the ex deck. We tossed around the idea of calling a locksmith, but that just sounded like too much work, so we -- like the rest of America -- soothed ourselves with some good old fashioned retail therapy.
(Thanks to Svilen Mushkatov for the image.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 11: Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing us all many blessings to be thankful for today and in the years to come.

(Thanks to Bill Davenport for the image.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 10: Balance

This morning I did yoga instead of meditating. I have to say that, so far, though I find value in yoga, meditation and prayer, I really enjoy the mental after effects that come from practices yoga. It calms my buzzing brain and heightens my awareness.

One of the poses in my routine this morning was tree pose. Normally, this is an easy pose for me, but this morning I found myself wobbly, searching for balance.

Actually, this is something I've been searching for for a long time.

(Thanks to Michael Lorenzo for the image.)

Day 9: Cheating

It occurs to me that I've been cheating over the last few days.

After I started mediation last week, I quickly became frustrated with the concept of letting go of my thoughts. I wanted to make sure that they went to good use so I turned to prayer. I think I believed like it was a way to control the outcome of my thoughts.

But according to How Not to Be Afraid of Your Life letting go of my thoughts is the point.

(Thanks to Felipe (Aladim) Hadler for the picture.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 8; Chaos

I woke up late this morning and didn't have time to meditate. So, I picked a mantra to focus on periodically throughout the day. By the end of the work day, I was a wreck. I was fighting back tears and my mind was swirling.

(Image provided by Robert Kossakowski.)

By the time that I got home I had started to calm down enough to go for a walk, make dinner and watch True Blood, but after it ended the flood of thoughts was back. So I locked myself in my room and prayed and mediated on my breathing. I feel much more relaxed, but not completely free.

For tips on calming the chaotic mind see:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 7: No Longer Enemies

Tater and I often walk around the short trail in the small park next to our house in the morning. To the right there are two fields one with horses and one with llamas. To the left there is a "compound" with a rottweiler and a bulldog.

When we walk by the dogs Tater goes ballistic, pulling at his leash, barking and yelping. I hate it because he usually ends up choking himself. I've tried bribing him to sit calmly in front of the dogs with treats, but he would just get anxious as soon as we started to move again. I've tried letting him meet the dogs but he just tried to fight them through the fence. I've tried walking with a squeaky toy to distract him, but he ignored it.

So this morning I decided to try something new. I prayed that God would let there be peace between the dogs. Testing the effect of my prayer, I let Tater approach the two dogs who stood waiting anxiously behind the fence.

At first their hackles were raised and they were growling and barking, but then dogs started running back and forth along the fence. After a few moments of this, I let Tater off the leash and the dogs played and ran back and forth for at least a half an hour. I haven't seen Tater have that much fun in a long time. He actually wore the rottweiler out, but he still didn't want to leave.

Now all I have to figure out is how to get Tater to walk by the dogs without wanting to play all the time!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 6 post 2: Reputation

I think God is calling me to go to church, but I'm afraid to go alone and I'm afraid to tell my roommate where I'm going. Plus, I'm not sure where to go.

I found myself talking to God about this today and asking him how I can be a christian and still be cool. (I've always been afraid that believing and obeying God will result in me becoming a total dweeb.) I had to laugh when he gently reminded me that I've never been cool!

(Thanks to Miguel Saavedra for the image.)

Day 6: Challenge

Practicing today was more difficult than I anticipated. I woke up lazily, started reading some verses on prosperity, meditated and prayed. I anticipated having the entire day to stay in my room and practice, but before I knew it I was up and attending to things: Tater needed to go potty, the dishes had to be done, the roommate wanted waffles, I had to go to the library. By the time I got back I was exhausted so I took a nap. When I woke it was time to make cookies. Then I got sucked into How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. When the movie ended I took Tater for a short walk and then made dinner and then my mom called. Whew!

(Thanks to Alison Oxley for the image.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 5: Remorse

I received the following text today from my soon to be ex-husband "Lawyer said the papers should be ready soon." This means that we should be getting close to finalizing the divorce. I should be happy. This is what I've been saying I wanted for months. But I'm not happy. I'm sad that our marriage failed.

I'm sorry for all the awful things I said and did to him. I'm sorry I married him. I'm sorry I hurt my friend by dating him, her ex-boyfriend. I'm sorry I let him treat me so poorly. I'm sorry that my parents paid thousands of dollars for a wedding we all knew was doomed. I'm sorry I didn't trust God, didn't run to God, didn't ask God for guidance and wisdom and love.

I wonder how differently this would have all turned out if I had. I wonder how my future will be different if I do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 4: Prayer

I learned to pray in Sweden. I would steal away from the rest of the Bible school students and hide in the bathroom, the closet or somewhere in the woods and write to God in my journal. But when M left it broke my heart and I stopped talking to God.

That was 10 years ago. I've attempted to pray on a few occasions since then, but I haven't felt like I was actually talking to God again until this morning.

I thought I could get away with just meditating, but it felt like there was something missing, so I decided to pray.

To help me get back into the groove I'm listening to The Power of Simple Prayer by Joyce Meyer. There are parts of the audio book that are a bit over the top for me--spiritual warfare particularly--but I can relate to the basic concept of being friends with God and I'm looking to developing that relationship over the next month and a half.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 3: Choose Your Own Adventure

When I was a kid I used to love getting strep throat and I got it a lot. I loved it because it meant going to the doctor and getting the yummy banana flavored medicine and it meant that I got to read the choose your own adventure books in the crowded waiting rooms. Fortunately the wait was usually long enough for me to follow almost every scenario before seeing the doctor.

Today, it occurred to me that real life is a lot like a choose your own adventure book. It's a series of choices from "What should I wear to work today?" to "Who should I marry?"

I find this concept both comforting and overwhelming because it implies that I have some control, but what if I make the wrong decision. But it's not really about making the right or wrong choice. Is it? It's about understanding that different choices have different outcomes. This is true in the realm of the mind as well.

As I sat down to meditate this morning I created an intention to dwell on something positive and I realized that I can choose my own thoughts and what I choose to ruminate on will affect the quality of my mental life. Then I realized that I have been making myself miserable by dwelling on the negative.

This concept was driven home for me while I listened to Julie Moraga speak about Emotional Intelligence at a workshop this afternoon presented by the Oregon Columbia International Association of Business Communicators. A few minutes into her presentation she said "It's your choice. You choose how you're going to feel."

Naturally, in order to do this she said you must be aware of what you're thinking and you must be willing to pause and replace your thoughts with more useful ones. Herein lies the challenge, but that is one of the reasons I've decided to meditate every day for the next month and a half.

I know I'm not really supposed to have any expectations, but I do anyway. I'm really hoping that this practice will help me become more aware of what's going on in my mind so that I can begin to consciously choose more fruitful adventures in the future.

If that doesn't work, maybe I'll at least make my mind a more pleasant place to wait while I watch the adventures of my life play themselves out.

Oscar Wilde Got It

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, there passions a quotation." --Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 2: Just Got To Be Me

In high school, I had a poster of four penguins hanging on my wall. Three of the penguins looked exactly the same in their black and white garb, but one had on a bright pink scarf with purple polka dots. Underneath the penguins were the words "Just Got To Be Me."

And that is what I am setting out to do with this new habit of meditation practice. According to Shunryu Suzuki suggests in Zen Mind, Beginners Mind I'm on the right track. He says the point of practicing zazen is not necessarily to reach enlightenment, because not everyone does. Rather the point of practicing is to connect with our true nature, our true selves and that is what I seek -- to get to know my true self.

I've spent my whole life comparing myself to others and trying to make myself into a mold that will come out on top to no avail and I'm exhausted from my futile effort. Now it's time to finally do as my old poster suggests.

So, this morning I woke up early and this time I skipped the coffee and went straight to the pillow. This was good because it didn't disturb Tater and he slept through most of my meditation. One less distraction!

Despite this, my meditation session was still fraught with noisy thoughts and sore muscles. So afterward I followed a morning flow practice from The back bends and shoulder stand left me feeling a little more relaxed and limber.

Unfortunately, the rest of the day was uneasy emotionally. Most likely because I was tired from staying up late last night watching The Starter Wife and getting up early to meditate. I even gave in and bought a pack of cigarettes this afternoon.

I know it's only been two days, but I had hoped to be transformed into my true "pristine" self by now. But maybe that's not the point. Maybe the point is to meet myself where I am and to observe what I do and why with compassion and curiosity. Like observing an animal in their natural habitat. For now, that is the tactic I will employ.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 1: Observe Yourself

I was so excited to get up and meditate this morning that I kept waking up during the middle of the night thinking I'd missed my alarm.

However, the meditation itself was far from enlightening. My mind was incredibly busy for just waking up. I tried focusing on my breath, but my internal chaos wasn't the only distraction I had to battle. There were plenty of external stimuli to keep my mind busy. For instance, my back was sore, the cup of coffee next to me kept taunting me and Tater kept scratching at the door.

But listening to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind I remembered what I had read before: It's not necessarily about having a clear mind. It's about observing your mind and getting to know yourself. And that is what this is all about: getting to know myself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I finished listening to Eat, Pray, Love as I was driving into the parking garage at work. This cathartic book tapped the emotional pain I've been stuffing and instigated the release I've been needing and it couldn't have come at a better time. It was like her words translated the moans of my soul.

Of course she's beautiful and she falls in love at the end of the book, which is a little annoying, but I really resonated with the search for spiritual balance. In fact, this was solidified by a vision I had after practicing a heart opening yoga pose on Saturday morning.

After coming out of camel pose, I saw myself walking up the hill behind the Bible school in Sweden. The sun shown high in the sky on the rock walled cow pastures as I crested the hill. I was alone and I was smiling. At that moment it hit me. I missed communing with God and myself as I had in Sweden and it was time to finally figure out how to get that communion back in the real world.

So I'm embarking on a spiritual quest starting tomorrow. I'm going to sit for 30 minutes a day until January 1. I'm also listening to a variety of audio books on meditation and prayer to help me figure out what methods resonate with me. I'm looking forward to this new journey.

I pulled out my shall from the wedding and covered one of my meditation pillows and stuck it up against the wall to make it more inviting. I intend to go straight there from bed in the morning. I also intend to do yoga a few times a week and to walk almost every day.

I plan to chronicle my experience here each day.

This Weekend

For an uneventful weekend, a lot happened:
1) I learned that my parents are dating again. (They divorced approximately 3 years ago.)
2) Tater turned 3.
3) The ex informed me that he doesn't think he'll be able to refinance the condo and that we'll probably have to sell.
4) I managed to make it through my first phone conversation with him sans cigarette before, during or after since we split last may. (Boy do I wish I had one now.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Are you my lover?

Lately, I remind myself of the little bird in Dr. Suess' Are You My Mother?

Only instead of looking for my mom - I'm fortunate to have a fantastic mom who's always there for me when I need her - I seem to be asking "Are you my lover?" to just about every relatively attractive man I encounter. (In my head of course.)

This surprises me because I was recently reminded that I'm better off without a man at this stage in my life. In fact, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude the other day for my divorce because it's the impetus I've needed to finally pursue my writing.

But I'm so new to this writing stuff. And I'm still trying to figure out who I am. A partner would most likely just get in the way of this process because at this point in the game I'm still apt to give away my whole self to try and keep that someone interested.

So I'm not sure why I seem to be "on the hunt" when what I really want is to solidify my independence before I get involved with someone else. Hopefully, at that time when I'm finally ready to be myself and be in a relationship, I'll be able to find someone amazing!

Until that time, I guess I'll just have to appreciate potential suiters from a far and be thankful that my heart is not completely petrified.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Other Favorite Thing From Today: Country Music

I was just befriended by Jayson Rettig on Facebook. I went to middle school with him and it turns out his a very talented musician. Check out his MySpace page to listen to his soul stirring songs.

I Never Thought I'd love a Show About Vampires, but I Do

Tonight we watched the latest episode of True Blood, a new show on HBO about the south where some vampires are trying to assimilate into main stream society because there's now synthetic blood that they can drink instead of humans.

It's based on The Southern Vampire Series with Sookie Stackhouse. There are werewolves, shape shifters and exorcisms. Oh my! It's gruesome and sexy. I'm riveted by each episode and find myself longing for the next one almost immediately. If you don't get HBO download it from the Internet or get the DVDs as soon as they come out.

My roommate just ordered the first two books in the series. I can't wait to read them when he's done.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Newest Crush

I went to Wordstock on Sunday. It was incredible! Five dollars for a whole day of soaking in the musings of some of the most talented authors from both in and out of town.

I was so high from the experience, I was falling in love with everyone, from the AV guys at the stages to the authors themselves. That guy who wrote House of Sand and Fog is totally the hot professor that all his females students would want to do, but truth be told it was the gay guy who really stole my heart!

Marc Acito read a chapter from his new book Attack of the Theater People and it was funny and poignant in a natural way. Not like those works that seem like the author was trying so hard and you have to work with them as you read it or listen to it in order to really enjoy the piece.

I was truly inspired by him. I would now like to write funny, cynical chic lit. I'm finally willing to admit it: I love chic lit. I've been known to love real lit to, but my heart has always gravitated toward chic lit. Who didn't love Bridget Jones' Diary, Dirty Girls Social Club and Sex and the City.

However, during this torturous process called divorce, I find that your traditional chic lit just doesn't do it for me. It's too hopeful. So I want to write things that reach those of us who have been burned by love, but I'm tired of self-help and depressing, so I want it to be funny.

Now I just have to learn how to make people laugh on paper.

P.S. Congrats to Marc who's blog was voted as one of the best 50 chick lit blogs.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I'm One of Them

When G and I first separated I felt strong and confident and lost a lot of weight effortlessly, but over the last two or three months my weight has started creeping back up.

According to Shrink Yourself, a book about overcoming emotional eating, it's because I've been believing that I'm powerless to deal with my feelings. You might be thinking that I'm finally mourning the loss of my marriage, but I'm actually still really glad I made that decision.

What overwhelms me is that I'm "one of them", one of those people who got a subprime mortgage and racked up credit card debt.

We bough0t the condo at the peak of the market. I'm not sure what it's worth now exactly, still waiting to hear back on the appraisal, but I'm sure it's at least $20k less than what we paid for it.

I'm so embarrassed by my decisions and I'm so scared that I'm not going to be able to make ends meet. I know I can't expect prince charming to save me from my financial mistakes. In fact, I'm afraid that no guy in his right mind will want to date me seriously with the debt I have.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Girls Night

I just came across this new movie coming coming out next month will all my favorite actresses and the best premise ever:

Happy Birthday to me! (It comes out in February.)

Open to Love

I'm listening to a new audio book called Looking Beyond the Mirror which is all about overcoming insecurity and learning to value yourself. This isn't an easy concept for me to digest because I've never held much esteem for myself.

From the time I was a small child I was afraid of asking my friends to play with me because they might say no and in high school I developed an eating disorder because I was afraid that no guy would love me unless I had a perfect body.

In general, I've given my love to men who were unsatisfying, dishonest and, overall, unworthy of my affections because I didn't think I was worthy of anyone's love, but I'm starting to realize this was faulty thinking on my part. These beliefs are deeply ingrained in my brain and led to my unfortunate marriage and now divorce, but I think I'm starting to open to the idea that they aren't true and that I can have a satisfying life and fulfilling relationships.

This idea is summed up nicely by the following quote from the book He's Just Not That Into You:

"...there is something great about knowing that my only job is to be as happy as I can about my life, and feel as good as I can about myself, and to lead as full and eventful life as I can, so that it doesn't feel like I'm just waiting around for some guy to ask me out."

What I've learned is that I don't need a man to complete me or make me worthwhile. In fact, I don't need a man at all, except for my roommate who helps me afford my life by sharing the rent. But, I'm finally opening to the idea that someday I may come across a great man to share my life with and that could be really great.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I need a niche

I'm not sure what my niche should be. I'd like to go back to writing about what I'm reading and what I'm learning from it and how it relates to my life, but I also want to be able to incorporate Mr. Tater when appropriate.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eating my budget

I think worrying about my financial situation has lead to my recent weight regain.

When I first instigated the divorce I felt like it was such a positive change that I deliberately didn't worry about money and spoiled myself with visits to my parents, getting my hair done, buying some new dresses for work, etc.

But it's been 4.5 months now that I've been paying rent and paying for half of my "marital expenses" and I'm out of money, I'm binging like I did when I got out of the eating disorder clinic.

I had to tell the lawyer that I can't keep paying for half of everything. My mom is offering to pay for me to fly home for Christmas. My dad is coming to visit this weekend and will be paying for everything. I'm almost 30 and my finances are worse than when I was in college. It's embarrassing.

I was contemplating ways to increase my income such as--getting a second job, getting a similar job that pays me more, something magical like developing the content of this blog into something advertisers will pay for--when the soon to be ex husband texted me to see if we could discuss the house.

After talking, this is what I gleaned: he wants to refinance the house, but can only get financed for 95% of the appraised value. This means that assuming the condo was appraised at $150,000 (keep in mind that we bought the condo for $159,900 a little over two years ago and due to "improvements" it requires repairs to the flooring) he could get $137,500 so I would have to cover the $22,000 difference. I told him I would talk to the bank, but now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm not sure that it's a good idea for me.

Without the debt from the house, I'll be walking away with almost $40,000 in debt. I don't think I can take on another $20K.

All this has been eating me up inside and I've been afraid to be honest about it. I think I've been overeating to avoid the discomfort.

"The ex" also mentioned a second option: that I file a quit claim deed on the condo and we keep the mortgage in place for now. I'm not comfortable with losing all of my rights to the house, but still retaining my responsibility on the mortgage. However, it sounds like he might be open to taking over the mortgage payments as they are without the quit claim deed until he can refinance, but would that be smart?

I think I'll sleep on it for now and hopefully get some good advice from the lawyer and financial advisor this week. In the mean time, maybe now that I've publicized the situation I can stop hiding it with food.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jumping off the Diving Board

Recently, I visited a friend in Salt Lake City, Utah who got remarried. We all went to a water park near her house for one of the days. We played on the slides and in the kiddie pool and soaked up as much sun as we could get.

And then I saw it. The diving board. I hadn't been on a diving board in years. It was calling me. I resisted at first, but then finally gave in.

As I nervously stood in line I tried to visualize what I would do for a dismount. I decided on a jacknife. It seemed the most simple and safe option.

I thought deciding to approach the diving board alone, with my friend's whole family watching me was hard, but when I got on top of the board my stomach sank. I wanted to turn and run. It was much higher up than I had anticipated, but I went ahead and followed through with my jump. It was exhilerating! I was tempted to do it again, but decided to wait for another time.

Similarly, getting a divorce wasn't an easy decision for me. It's taken me years to get to this point.

I tried to keep the disorder of my relationship a secret for as long as I could from most of the world. I was embarrassed and didn't want to admit that I had made a mistake. I didn't want people to know what a mess I had become either. So doing this now, with everyone I know watching is a lot like making my decision to jump off the diving board.

I feel as though I'm walking the plank. House hunting has brought the reality of my decision to light and it's scary. Sometimes I think, maybe I can turn back, but I know I can't. I've got to go forward and jump. All I can hope is that I make a big beautiful splash and I don't injure myself or anyone else in the process.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Coming Back From California

I just got back from a fantastic conference in Laguna Beach, California at the Surf and Sand Resort. I highly recommend the location. The weather was beautiful, the people were total Californians, the view was fantastic, the beach was perfect, the waves were so loud that they gave us earplugs to sleep at night and the marine life was captivating (Kurt saw dolphins swimming off shore and I saw crabs running across the beach at night clapping their claws in the air). But that wasn't the best part.

What was really great was that I was able to meet a group of people who do what I do. I'm a communications manager, which isn't unusual. What's unusual is the type of corporation I work for: a multiple listing service. It's a niche industry. I've attended a variety of communications and real estate conferences to get more ideas on how to better approach my job, but nothing has been so beneficial as this conference! It was great to see how we were on the right track, but that there was plenty of room to grow. I won't bore you with everything that I took away, but the one thing that I came away with that I think everyone can benefit from, even if they don't work for an MLS is that no matter what you do, there is no reason you can't do it to the highest quality withing your ability. This was best summed up by the Fast Company magazine I picked up in the airport on my way home. In their article about the "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies" the focused on Google who approaches their business with the following questions at the forefront of their collective mind:"Are we taking advantage of what we've got here? Are we doing enough? Are we doing everything we can?"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting Back in the Habit

This year is the year of "self education". It occured to me that I've just been waiting for wisdom to just smack me upside the head and it wasn't really happening. So I've taken matters into my own hands. I'm renting audio books from the library and listening to them while I drive.

Sometimes there are nuggets of wisdom and I want to be able to remember them. While I take cryptic notes on a pink steno pad when I'm stuck in traffic, I'm afraid it's not really going to sink in. So I'm going to blog about what I learn and hopefully that will ingrain it in my brain. If anyone happens to read this, hopefully what I learn can be of use to you too.

What I'm currently listening to:
Getting Things Done by David Allen

What I've listened to:
The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn
Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar

What I learned today:
Stop procrastinating when it comes to making decisions. If a project or task comes in, don't avoid it. Make a decision as to what the next action is and if it will take less than two minutes do it. If not, decide how you will address it and when.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tater Goes Sledding

Tater and I took a trip to Idaho after Christmas and it was covered in snow. But it didn't stop there. It kept snowing and snowing.
Tater wasn't quite sure what to make of it, so I dressed him in his snow gear and stuck him on a sled.

He didn't stay long enough to go down the hill with my dad or I. He did like running down after the hill after us. A lot!

Tater wasn't the only one that had fun. I got to see Adara and Amber who I hadn't seen in over 2 years and I got to visit my parents and some of their friends.

It was the first time I've hung out with my parents together since the divorce. That was interesting. It actually seemed kinda nice for all of us, but my parents are good fakers so who knows what they really thought about it.

Lastly, I got to see my Grandma and my uncle. I have nothing in common with them and I don't know how to talk to them, but it's still nice to see them because they're family.
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