Wednesday, June 30, 2010

West Coast Girl Goes to Texas

Freshman year of college, I went to a small, Christian College here in Ca.  I was in an all-female, freshman choir.  It was the highlight of my year.  I didn't make a lot of friends in college, and kept in touch with only one.  A sweet Texas girl that I nicknamed Auntie Bin.  She and I bonded over stories about family and we really loved singing in the choir.   I saw her once, about 12 years ago, when she and her husband flew into L.A. from Texas for a family reunion.  Since then, we've sent a random letter back and forth and made a few phone calls.  With Facebook and websites and blogs, we managed to re-connect over the past few years.  Two weeks ago, out of the blue, she calls me and tells my voicemail that she has an offer "I can't refuse".  "Oh-oh", I think.  She's involved in a pyramid scheme and calling everyone she knows to join.  I steel my confrontation back-bone and smile a bracing smile and call her back.  Turns out, she has an extra ticket to see Sting in Houston and if I can get there, I can be her guest.  Wow.  Sting?  Love the man.  Go on a trip to see a girlfriend that I haven't hung out with since 1990?  Sounds like fun to me!  Financial questions came to mind, and although I immediately wanted to go, a big part of my brain was telling me, "No way, honey!"  I asked her to text me the dates and I would get back to her.  (I do hate to say "No" right away to something fun!)

I knew I had to make a decision quick.  If I wasn't going to go, she needed to place the ticket online to sell A.S.A.P.  I called her back and told her to say a prayer, but not to hold her breath.  She called me back a day or so later and offered me some money to help with the flight.  Wow.  What a generous spirit!  I had been hoping to go to Vegas with another girlfriend, but those plans had changed.  Looks like new plans might be in the works!  I venture up the courage to talk to E about it.  I tell him about her generous offer to help.  He looks skeptical (we have a houseboat trip coming up and a boat to tune-up in anticipation, etc.)  He tells me to check out flight prices and tells me what we can afford, even though he feels like it's a lot to go to a concert.  For me, however, it has become more than a concert.  It is an adventure, to be taken on my own, into the foreign land of big ole Texas.  I start pricing out flights.  I punch in the dates (leave on Thursday and come home on Monday) and pick the cheapest flight.  I hold my breath and punch in my credit card number.  I am filled with elation as I print out my flight info and e-mail the document to Bin.

A couple of days later, she texts me, saying that she was "surprised to see I was staying until mid-July"!  Holy-moley.  How did that happen???  I punched in the dates I wanted, picked the flight and wham.  Something screwy happened.  A common occurrence in my life.  No biggie, right?  Just call Expedia and explain what happened.  I did so and was told it would be about $250 to fix the mistake.  My heart broke.  I started crying on the phone.  The rep was sympathetic but couldn't do anything about it.  What followed was an intense battle between my mind and my heart.  My mind said to cancel the whole thing and suck it up like a big girl and live with the disappointment.  My heart said to go ahead and agree to the pay increase and pray for a miracle.  My heart won out.

I lay on my bed and sobbed like a baby.  Seriously, I was devastated.  I was pretty sure that I would have to cancel out of the whole thing and that E was going to be really pissed and Bin would be so disappointed and I really, really, really wanted to go.  My inner voice suggested I take 20 deep breaths and go ahead and ask for Divine Assistance and be ready to be grateful and ok with the outcome.  By about breath 17, a voice inside told me to call a family member, who did his best to help me.    He called and spoke to a rep and was told that there was nothing that could be done.  Later, E called them up and I was very glad I was not on the receiving end of those calls!  Anyway, it all worked out and through gifts of grace and faith, I was still on my way to Texas!!!
I drove to the San Diego airport early on Thursday morning.  Before I left, my son threw his arms around me and counted 1-5, all the days I would be gone.  I asked him for that many kisses to tide me over.  I found a park and ride and boarded my plane and was off to Houston. 

Bin met me at the airport at 7:45 Texas time and we went out for some grub.  Over the next 4 days, I was a grateful guest to some fabulous food and a wonderful hostess.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was like we picked up our friendship like it was yesterday that we were sitting in my '76 Toyota Celica and sharing ourselves with each other.  Friday night we saw Sting play with the Royal Philharmonic.  The picture shows a bright light next to the screen.  That is the almost-full moon.  I got chills and knew all but one of the songs.  We held hands and texted our significant others about the tremendous time we were having.  My grin was huge and I felt so loved and lucky to be chillin in the heat of a Texas evening. 

We watched movies and ate and walked "Bella, the wonder dog" who is an adorable lab-mix pound pup on this amazing path that is right across the street from Bin's house.  Just past the path are beautiful trees and below them is a creek.  Halfway through the trip, E sent me a photo of Jake sportin a mohawk.  So this is what happens when mom is out of town for a few days, huh?  I showed Bin and she exclaimed, "Oh My!"  No biggie.  E has been talking to Jake about it for years.  He looked adorable and oh-so punkrock.  Too soon, it was time to go.  Bin had her son take a picture of us at the airport, as she showed off her gorgeous cowboy boots and I wore my Doc's.  Unfortunately, her son forgot to get our feet in the picture.  Oh well.  I had a marvelous time.  I was so pleased to be silly with my girlfriend.  We shared our hearts just like old times.  I had my grand adventure.  I have to say, however, that after a 3 hour delay in Phoenix, this girl was never so glad to embrace the 63-degree weather in gorgeous San Diego. 

Thanks for listenin', y'all!

This Whole "Twilight" Thing

So here I am, blogging at 3:53 a.m.  I am feeling body-weary, but my mind is awake, due, in part, I'm sure to the coffee with a shot of espresso that I chugged at 9 tonight.  The reason for doing this to myself is simple.  A Midnight showing of "Eclipse" (Twilight part 3) with my girlfriends, Angel, Dawn and Emily.  They bought my ticket for my birthday.  We had seen "New Moon" last year (Twilight part 2) and had a blast, "hoboing" it outside the theater for 3 hours in order to be among the first to see the movie. 

Now, this whole "Twilight" thing seems to upset people, mostly guys.  When my hubby saw the latest preview, he remarked that it looked like "90210 with vampires."  I told him that the main reason I was going was to be with my girlfriends, but I have to admit, there is a serious attraction to this "true love" stuff. I know it is not realistic or fair, but as long as we can go home and appreciate how good we have it with our mortals, what's the problem?

I listened to the audiobooks of all 4 books a few years ago.  I was drawn into the idea of loving someone and being loved so intensely that I would be willing to give up everything I knew and loved to be with them.  Now, I will be the first to tell you that the Twilight novels are simplified and over the top.  Bella never has bad breath or eye boogers.  Edward has the perfect balance between angst and heroism going on.  The attraction to the supernatural that many of us have perhaps reflects our inner desire to be more than we feel we are.  And that whole devoted family thing that the Cullen family does so perfectly, well who wouldn't want that?

We all like to live vicariously from time to time.  Women (especially) find themselves buying into the whole "I would die for you" love story.  I thought I had outgrown that kind of lit., but no, guess not.  Good vs. evil.  Righteous blood-letting vs. wanton blood lust.  Steamy physical attraction between gorgeous people.  The myth (?) that there is "The One" for everyone.  Sacrificing oneself for the betterment of another, which is even more enthralling when it is their soul that you want to save.  Lots of ideals are touched on with these stories. 

Yes, we know they are stories and that this kind of love doesn't exist on this plane in our lives or in the lives of anyone we know.  But for an hour and a half, one can slip into an alternate reality, where love and devotion is sparkly and all consuming.  Even as I watch, a part of me feels a bit "dumbed down" but the storyline touched me and I want to see how they render it on screen.  Edward isn't nearly as handsome as my mind pictures him, but Jacob's torso?  No complaints from me. 

Book 4 (Breaking Dawn) was my favorite of the series.  You can bet that I'll be out at midnight, amped up on coffee, just to see how they do with the plot and characters.  Why not? I will put up with any snide remarks that come my way and ignore the eye-rolling.  I want to witness Bella become a vampire while giving birth to her half-vampire baby.  You don't have to come along.  But if you want to, let me know.  You're welcome to meet up on our voyeuristic journey into fantasyland.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Inventory at the library.  I've got my ipod in my ears and a cordless scanner in my hand.  I'm scanning in the non-fiction section, one book at a time.  Beep . . . beep . . . beep.

Our school's twin servers crashed about 2 months ago and we lost track of which patron had which book.  When we re-installed our circulation program, last year's graduated seniors were back in the system and the freshman were nowhere to be found. 

In an effort to get back as many books as we could, we promoted a "no fines" campaign.  People thought we were so generous, to delete all  previous fines and not charge any more through the rest of the year.  Little did they know we simply wanted out books back.  I posted witty announcements like, "A Child Called It . . . Bob Marley biographies . . . Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl . . . Come on ya'll we need our books back.  Don't be lazy!  No fines for late returns!"  and stuff like that. 

We did get a lot back, our section holding The Outsiders looks pretty full.  Got back both copies of Always Running.  My grin was huge when someone returned our seriously late copy of Brisinger, the only copy we had.  Then the staff thought we should get a jump start on the inventory because 1)  I am probably getting transferred to another school and 2)  Who knows how many days of summer the new person will have to devote to inventory.  Our inventory program is very unforgiving, however, and I goofed and ALL our books were marked to "missing status".  Needless to say, an inventory was needed in a real bad way.

I am on this "consciously conscious" kick and am watching my thoughts a lot.  As I was scanning and scanning and scanning, I was thinking about the site where I am proably going to be transferred to.  It is a middle school, but not the one I started in.  I thought about the decorations I wanted to put up there and looked forward to reading some more of the fiction there.  I am big-time into middle and high school lit these days. 

Beep . . . beep . . . beep. . . I noticed my thoughts and feelings touched on sadness and regret.  The incoming freshman to the school I am currently assigned to were my 7th graders a year ago.  My biggest wish was to see them again as incoming freshman.  I acknowledged the sadness and reminded myself to be unattached to the outcome.  All year I have focused on this detachment train of thought.  It is not easy to change how we think!  Soon I felt neutral in my feelings, though not before sending out a little wish to the universe to be able to stay at this site.

Beep . . . beep . . . beep . . . Summer school is being held in the library while I work.  I have my ipod on quiet enough to hear the beeps and in case anyone needs to speak with me.  The summer school teacher is nice but I can tell she can keep these kids in line.  The are upcoming seniors who need this make-up class in order to graduate.  I am amazed at her outfit.  At first glance, it is a matching floral top and skirt, but after a second-take, it is glaringly mismatched in a cool, don't give a sh## way.  She doesn't care.  She can make it work.  Beep . . . beep . . . beep.

My ipod goes randomly from one artist to the next.  Sarah Maclachlan, Tori Amos, Cypress Hill, Bob Marley, Rollins Band, Man is the Bastard, Soulfly, Emmylou Harris.  I take note of who is performing and which books I am scanning.  Tennyson, Basketball, Climbing Mt. Everest.

My brain turns to my idea of putting display shelves up on the non-ficiton walls.  They are blank and there are so many interesting books that haven't been touched since I did inventory last July. 

Beep . . . beep . . . beep . . .  There is a book out of order.  Reach and exchange it for it's rightful place.  When I remember, I put my hand behind the books to find any lost puppies.  Every once in awhile, I find one that's been pushed back when a student replaced a book. 

Then my brain starts thinking about all the creative energy put into all this music and all these books.  The Mars Volta kicks in as I scan a book of essays titled, How to be Alone.  Living Colour plays their funky jams as I scan SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld.  I didn't know we had this . . . Eric Clapton rocks on and I find a chewed lollypop stick.  Devo plays while I scan Walden and Civil Disobedience

Beep. . . beep . . . beep . . . Oops, Volume 2 is shelved after Volume 4.  Madonna croons a sad song.  Out of curiosity, I open a really old copy entitled Anthology of Romanticism from 1933.  It was last checked-out in 2003.  Not bad. 

Dig, Primus, Eagles of Death Metal, The BBQ (E and Jim's project band) play as I scan in the plays.  U2 comes on while I wait for the information to transfer from the scanner to my computer.  The section I just finished contained 728 books (read 728 beeps) with only 4 missing.  Not bad.

Tad kicks in as I go back to the stacks to scan some more.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Looking the Pain Right in the EYE.

Ok.  Start off by watching the link I posted above.  I watched it 3x in a row and it gave me goosebumps.  The first time I watched it, I broke out in tears and I had to post the link to my online Wolfpack (Women who Run with the Wolves.  Check it out, girlfriends!)

For years and years and YEARS I have felt out of sync with myself.  I have gone to 4 therapists, put my marriage on the line countless times, alienated myself from friends and family and abused substances in an attempt to escape the pain of living.

Here I am, 39 years young, and finally GETTING IT!

I started asking for help from a Divine source a few years ago.  I start the day accepting the blessings and abundance in my life.  Sometimes I wake up with a weight on my soul.  When I give thanks, it helps relieve the feeling of heaviness.

I have been learning to meditate.  We are told to "pray and meditate".  So, as I see it, prayer is when we talk, meditating is when we listen!

I am following my instincts more and more and more.  I no longer believe in the word "coincidence".  I am constantly amazed by the little and big convergences in my life.  Shall I call them blessings?  Yes, I shall.

Today, I have the whole house to myself.  E and Jim left early to work out, then to meet up with my brother and son to see Iron Maiden in concert.  I slept in until 12:30.  This is unheard of for me.  (Although when we were childless and living in O.B., this was a common occurrence!)

Today, all day, I have been reminding myself and my sense of anxiety, that I am beholden to no one but myself for my day today.  I journaled, perused the book, Healing Mandalas that is overdue at the library, I called a few people back, which is a big deal because I suck at calling people back in a timely manner.  I read e-mails and found the above link, among other inspiring things.  As you can tell, I am jumping around in my telling of my day, but that is the way it is going to be!  Rewind back to my journaling and reading time today.  I had journaled about some bitter and sad feelings I was feeling toward someone.  There are some things I am struggling to accept.  Next, I opened Tolle's, The Power of Now, and was informed about Pain-Bodies.

According to Tolle, "As long as you are unable to access the power of the Now, every emotional pain that you experience leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you.  ...This accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind.  ...Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations, such as intimate relationships, or situations linked with past loss or abandonment, physical or emotional hurt, and so on....The pain-body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it.  It can then rise up, take you over, 'become you,' and live through you.  ...The pain-body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that reflects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on. ...Pain cannot feed on joy.  It finds it quite indigestible.  ...The pain-body, which is the dark shadow cast by the ego, is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness.  ...The moment you observe it, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken.  A higher dimension of consciousness has come in.  I call it presence.  You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body.  This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you.  You have found your innermost strength."

Wow.  As I said, when you no longer believe in "coincidences", life becomes more and more amazing.  I am so happy to be waking up to a new way of viewing life!  Now, when I "sleep" to my new spirituality, I actually notice that I am thinking the old way.  Prayer and meditation.  Prayer and meditation.  Mantras like, "Forgiveness", "Abundance", "Acceptance", and just learning to embrace silence is changing me inside and out.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This afternoon I had the urge to watch a movie.  We have Netflix, which enable us to watch some movies instantly on our computer.  I was in the mood for a John Hughes movie, like "Pretty in Pink" or "Sixteen Candles", but none of his movies were available for instant viewing.  I'm not a big fan of Molly Ringwald and her pouty, sneery mouth, but those movies were a big part of my teenage years and I have been thinking a lot about them lately.  I kept looking to see what I might like to view.

I started "Mr. Wrong" because I love Ellen DeGeneres and thought it might be funny, but it seemed kinda cheesy and I didn't feel like watching her in a straight role, so I browsed some more.

The other night, my neighbors were talking about the show, "Dexter", which is about a psychopath who is able to understand inside the minds of other psychopaths and then kills them vigilante style.  Season 2 was available, so I started it.  I barely got through the highlights of Season 1 when I decided murder wasn't what I wanted to see.

I watched a bit of a comedy special by Patton Oswalt, someone I had never heard of before.  His style was described as a "dark, sarcastic view of life".  I found him whiny and a downer.  I didn't laugh once.  I forwarded closer to the end and still didn't enjoy it  so I went back to browsing.

Netflix posts little suggestions of movies you might like and one caught my eye.  It was called "I've Loved You So Long" and I recognized the actress on the cover, although I couldn't say what I have seen her in. 
I decided to give it a try.  Turns out, 4th time was the charm. 

I love movies that are big on emotion and character interactions.  I don't need bombs or guns or kidnapping or murder or slapstick to pull me in.  I like human  interactions and emotions.  This movie did it. 

Juliette has been in prison for 15 years for a murder.  You find out later in the movie that it was for the murder of her 7-year-old son.  Since our son is 9, I was immediately on guard.  I didn't want to expose myself to a story in which a mom kills her kid because she is emotionally unstable.  The character had already pulled me in, however, and didn't seem to be that type of person, so I kept with it.  She had been recently released from prison and her sister, Lea, picks her up at the airport and takes her back to her home where she lives with her husband, her sweet, but mute father-in-law, and two adopted Vietnamese daughters.  The sisters have little to say to each other.  Lea tries very hard to be friendly and upbeat.  She was a teenager when her sister committed the crime and was "brainwashed" by her parents to not stay in contact with her older sister.  She later shares that her parents forbade her to speak about or write to Juliette.  When introducing Lea to new friends, they said she was their only daughter.  Juliette never had any visitors in prison.  There is a touching scene, however, where Lea shows Julie all the years of diaries where the only entry was Juliette's name and the number of days she had been imprisoned.  Lea may not have been in contact with her sister, but she never stopped thinking about her.

Lea's husband is a bit nervous about having his murderess sister-in-law around his children and he and Lea fight about various subjects quite a few times, all in regards to her relationship with Juliette. 

Meanwhile, beautiful Juliette is very withdrawn and sad.  She is gentle with the girls, until the older one (who is 8) wants to read her a poem.  Juliette gets very angry and leaves the daughter's room. 

She sleeps with a picture of her son under her pillow, along with a piece of paper.  On one side of the paper is a poem written to her by her son.  On the other side are medical levels of some sort.  One day, Lea's younger daughter finds the picture and gives it to her mother, who becomes very emotional.  She finds the paper and makes a copy of the medical levels and asks a friend to decipher them.  She later learns that they represent a person with terminal cancer.

At the end of the movie, Juliette shares with Lea how she "kidnapped" her son towards the end of his life, when he could barely move and was crying from the pain and gave him a lethal shot before lying beside him all night.  During her trial she was silent.  In jail she was silent.  She says, "Explaining is looking for excuses.  Death has no excuses."  "The worst prison is the death of a child.  You never get out of it." 

This was yet another movie I enjoyed watching alone.  I am a weeper and can handle emotionally difficult movies.  They make E uncomfortable oftentimes.  I sopped up my tears with my t-shirt until I broke down and paused the movie to search out a box of Kleenex. 

This movie took place in France (subtitled) and I was drawn into their home.  It was beautiful.  Simple, but welcomingl, with books everywhere.  Lea is a literary professor.  Her co-worker, Michel, takes a fancy to Juliette.  As they are walking one evening she says to him, "You always see the world through books, don't you?"  He replies, "They've helped me a lot.  Sometimes, they help more than people."  I smiled and immediately reached for a scrap of paper on which to wtite that down.  I find this to be true in my life on a daily basis. 

It was a beautiful movie and I am very glad to have discovered it.  I found the transitions calming.  The storyline was heartwrenching with a very hopeful ending.  I would recommend it.  I didn't give it all away.  I promise.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Under The Dome

I finished King's Under the Dome book last week.  It was pretty great.  Spoiler alert:  if you plan on reading it, stop reading this now!

I saw familiar King elements pulled together in this story about a small town that suddenly finds itself trapped under an invisible and barely oxygem-permeable dome.  King likes to set his stuff in Maine (duh) and, as usual, had some kick-a** female characters.  Instead of drawing in "the Dark Man" who often wreaks havoc and tragedy upon unsuspecting folks, he brought in his other favorite theory . . . aliens.

As in The Stand, one of the main characters is a man who is roaming around, trying to see where he might fit.  In The Stand, it is a deaf mute who is beaten up for no good reason, and is just trying to mind his own business when he has to deal with tragedy (like most of the world dropping dead from the Superflu).  Under the Dome's guy (Dale Barbara, or "Barbie" ) used to serve in the military and didn't like what he had to do over in Iraq.  Now he is a line cook who turns down the advances of a horny waitress.  She doesn't like being shunned and tells her boyfriend that Barbie forced her sexually.  He is jumped by 4 guys in the parking lot soon after.  Barbie is on his way out of town when the dome plops itself down on the town, trapping him inside with a bunch of good people and a bunch of nut cases, some of them homocidial.  As King says ( in the interview I have included as a link), "Why do people do what they do under stress?"  Their true natures come out, that's for sure.

Turns out, the dome was placed over the town via some sort of small device by some naughty alien children.  The analogy is of kids who tear the wings off bugs just because they can.  These kids trap a bunch of people just for the heck of it.  Meanwhile, the air is getting bad, the dome is getting filthy from built-up toxins, maniacs are trying to run the town, the local Meth operation is about to go kaboom and people are just trying to survive it all.  Very few of them do.

The book was huge and awesome.  I like it when there's a whole bunch of characters and you just have to keep reading to see what's going to happen next. 

Awhile ago, I requested the audio version through the library.  I am still on the waiting list and debated cancelling it because I know the story now and my commute is going to be non-existent due to the summer break, but you know what?  It was good enough to put on my ipod and listen to the story unfold again. 

Here's a link to a 4-minute author interview:

Thrift Shop Junkie

I love to shop and I love to buy things cheap.  There's a song by Voodoo Glow Skulls called "Thrift Shop Junkie".  A few years ago, E introduced and dedicated the song to me.  Sometimes while perusing possible used treasures, it runs like a theme song through my brain.

Today I had a little time to kill (after getting my eyebrows done and while waiting for E to finish up work so we could "do lunch') so I visited the Brother Benecio Thrift Shop in Oceanside. 

I spent $25 bucks.  Bought a swimsuit (with the original tags still on) for $2.  Score!  Plus . . . it's Sparkly!

I also scored (off the dollar rack), a t-shirt with this funky chick surrounded by books.  It says "book woman" and if I am anything, it is a book woman!  (Got 3 new ones on grace and spirituality in the mail this week, plus bought the 2 Marvel graphic renditions of Stephen King's The Gunslinger at Barnes and Noble with giftcard money.) 

The one drawback to buying clothes at most thrift shops is that you usually can't try the items on.  I got an adorable red top with SNAPS (awesome), but the sleeves are a bit short.  A usual story for me.  It fits alright besides that, so I can wear it with the sleeves rolled up a little if it bugs.  I love the red, floral print.  E wasn't so excited about it, but I didn't expect him to be.  I like it . . .

I also bought two skirts.  The jean one is a bit tight but I can get away with it.  The long, black one will fit better when I lose a little of this amazing weight I seem to have embraced lately. 

As for the sundress, well, I wonder what I read when I thought the tag said it would fit me.  Not by a long shot.  Oh well.  It's washing up and I will scout around my skinny friends to see if any of them want it.

I bought about 10 paperback books.  Kid friendly.  I stashed some of them in a bag in my truck.  Tomorrow I will schlepping around 3 kids who will have been together for almost 24 hours.  If they start shining or bickering, I will toss the books at them.  A bit of diversion never hurt anyone.  I bought a few of the other books (including the ever-popular Twilight) in hopes that I will be working at the high school next year and can hold another BookSwap.  These will be gobbled up quick by the students if given the chance.

The last two things I bought were a small booklight (run on AA's, not those funky tiny batteries) and a big soup pot.  I walked away from the soup pot initially, but my impulse brought me back.  It was new and shiny and there were a few times these past months that I had wished I had another big pot to create yummy food in when my 2 big pots were busy.

Now to go through my closet and donate to our local thrift shop.  Gotta keep the stuff moving!  I read recently that my spirituality can be hindered by too many material goods.  I also read that if something can be lost in a sunk ship, it doesn't really belong to you.  I guess that would apply to pretty much everything I hold dear in my life.  Stuff to ponder.

Monday, June 7, 2010


So recently, I have become obsessed with the show, "Hoarders" on A&E.  I set my dvr to record all new episodes and over the Memorial Day weekend, they ran a marathon.  I realized that I was hoarding the Hoarders show.  Yipes.

There are hoarders in my family, but the reason I watched was because it was time for some self-examination and introspection.  Why did my heartbeat speed up at the sound of the intro music?  Why was I clenching my toes, which is a sure "tell" of my being uncomfortable.  Why was I snappy and pissy and ready to argue with Erik after I had watched an episode or two or three?

I'll be the first to admit it.  It's hard for me to let some things go.  I find I can associate with at least one characteristic per character per episode. I keep my dolls in a box in the garage with my grandpa's writing because the dolls represent me and who I was as a child.  My dolls used to keep me safe during the scary and too-dark nights.  I would line them around my body in a protective circle and breathe shallowly until finally falling asleep.  My treasured Raggedy Andy doll's face is tear-stained.  He absorbed a lot of sadness that I couldn't share with a live person.  The box has my treasured Grandpa Boyd's scrawled, "Dolls" on it, and I could see that he had a little of his tell-tale shakes when he wrote it.  Do these dolls do me any good out in our garage?  There are probably black widows nesting in the box.  The dust mites are having a feast on a daily basis, and yet, somehow, I feel comforted knowing that they are out there.  I think it is the only thing I have with his writing on it.  I know that by letting it go, he will not be erased from my heart, but I get an emotional charge every time I see it. 

So what about my box of prom dresses?  They are all out there too.  I will never wear them again (although I might think wistfully about being those tiny sizes).  I have never pulled them out to offer to a young girl to wear.  Last year at my High School, a teacher requested Prom dresses for students who couldn't afford them.  I didn't bring them in, didn't even go open the box.  In my mind, one day I would let little girls play dress-up in them.  Hmmmm.  Wonder when that'll happen?  My nieces are ages 4, 3 and 1.  Am I going to hold onto them until they are 8?  What condition will they be in?  Won't they stink like dust?  I'm sure I can't throw them in the washer!  Am I going to pay for them to be dry-cleaned so that they can be traipsed around in and the hems dirtied?  Not sure.  I do know that the dresses represent lots of memories of high school.  The anticipation of the event.  Getting ready all day for the moment when "the guy" showed up to give me a flower and whisk me off to a grand evening where I was too nervous to eat or talk to him.  Why do I still have the dress I wore when I asked my long-time (and one-sided) crush to the Sadie Hawkins dance?  He wasn't pleased to go with me, I was not his first choice.  I don't even know if we spoke the entire evening.  I had him on an impossible pedestal and there was no way I could be myself that night.  What about the gorgeous, pink dress I dreamed over, cut out pictures of and stuck on my wall?  I managed to get the dress and go with a really lovely guy.  It didn't work out between us, although I still think about him and a tiny part of my brain wonders . . . what if???  This is ego's way of not accepting the moment.  The NOW.  See?  I realize this.  That's the first part of recovery, right??? I have been married to a great guy for 19 years.  I think I have the dresses I wore when he accompanied me to dances.  The flapper dress, the red strapless.  Seriously, why do I still have these???  I have the pictures up on the wall!

I also "collect" letters (not uncommon) and birth and marriage announcements, every single scrap of paper my husband or son has put sentiment to, as well as every letter my dad wrote me.  I found some Birthday cards the other day, from most of my grandma's.  They are all dead now.  I smiled and gently caressed them, then put them back in the ripped, Manila envelope that is in file cabinet drawer that I must go through so that I can fit my desk in that space.  Sigh.  So, I get plastic containers and store them in the basement and then what?  When I'm 80 I pull out all the jumble of movie and concert tickets, newspaper articles that mention people I know and personalized invites for a niece's first bday party?  I always picture the afternoon of this grand event being a rainy one.  Then I sweep it all back into the boxes and store it until someone else has to get rid of it???!!!                               Hmmmm. . . Ok.  I can live with that.

Photos.  The space beneath our bed is filled with boxes of photos.  Last summer I bought some albums and started sorting them by year.  Spent a few hours doing it, but lost interest.  And what about the 7000 pictures that are stored on our computer since getting the digital camera about 7 years ago???  Averaging 1000 pictures a year is pretty hefty.  Again, my brain lives in the "perfect future" where I have arranged them and had photo books made online.  Really?  Am I going to do that?

Books.  I am an avid reader and work in a library and go to libraries all the time and books come my way.  I am on a self-improvement kick.  These books have flocked to me like a magnet to filings.  I have stacks and stacks of books.  Bookmarks stick out of a lot of them.  Titles come to my attention and I find them cheap online and order them.  Books that my kid needs to read.  Luckily, I don't have every book I have ever owned.  I got rid of ALOT when we moved from the mountains.  When we were first married and lived in San Bernardino, I remember sitting on the couch and had the door opened.  It was a funky little house, and two guys walked by.  One of them asked, "What's this place?" and the other glanced in and said, "Oh, it's a library."  I was proud.

My house is relatively clean, but I have no doubt that it is because I am blessed with a woman who cleans for me every other week.  She comes on Friday.  Starting Wednesday before her arrival, I start going through various paperwork piles in the kitchen, stuff on the back table, have Erik shove the clean clothes in baskets into the closet.  Then we start over.  What would this place look like if we weren't kept in check by cleaning for the cleaning lady???

My heart no longer races and I rarely cry when watching the show.  I have just finished (and ERASED) the last recorded episode.  I am even in a relatively good mood when it is over.  I don't think I picked a fight after watching yesterday.  But it is a guilty pleasure.  I like to watch alone.  With the door closed.  Then I look up and see the pile of stuff that's been sitting on top of the file cabinet for years.  Maybe I'll take a look at it before I go to Yoga tonite.  With the recycle bin close by. 

Thanks for listening. 
If you want to see the show, click on the link below.