Monday, March 31, 2014

No Chavez graphic on Google?

Uh, Google! I'm disappointed that there's no reference to Cesar Chavez' birthday on your homepage today!

Happy Cesar Chavez' Birthday!

I'm going to see the new movie Cesar Chavez tonight. It's about one of the great Mexican American civil rights activists. My family is very excited about this film.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Non-anniversary

Tuesday, March 25th would have been my sixth wedding anniversary. The divorce was final on 7 February, so this is my first non-anniversary. I wasn't expecting this week to be so hard, but I keep remembering what I was doing six years ago. Thinking about Bob makes me sad and what's startling is that it's a pure sadness without anger or feelings of abandonment or longing for reconciliation. I suspect this is grief.

Last night this feeling overtook me and I just bawled, feeling sad for me and for Bob. I wept as I remembered that we were each lonely and then we found each other and it was good. Then it wasn't so good and then it ended. This struck me as the saddest story and I couldn't stop crying. Did it matter that I was on the Chicago red line elevated train during rush hour? No. I tapped and wept and blew my nose and no one sat anywhere near me. I appreciated being left alone. Weeping in public among strangers can be just as private as being in my own room.

I'd never felt grief like that before. It was way worse than sadness and maybe even worse than depression, as I experience it. Now I understand why people drink, do drugs, retreat into anger or shut down in other ways in order to avoid grief. It's clear why the tradition is to stay angry at your ex for as long as possible because once the anger burns off the real pain begins.

The sadness lingers today and what makes it worse is that the hole in the roof of my mouth still hurts. Healing from this gum graft has been much more painful than the first one; I don't know why. My emotional pain makes me want to buy a frosted layer cake and dig in, but my physical pain makes eating and drinking difficult, so I guess I won't eat my way through this. I just have to go through it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself update

Joe Dispenza's book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One has been instrumental to me. I've been using his accompanying recorded guided meditation to clear decades-long self-hatred, old resentment and anger towards my mother and my self-defeating pattern of depression. Now I'm using the meditation to work on my money situation. Using Dispenza's technique led me to becoming an Arbonne consultant (ID: 19557175), a part-time job that allows me to stay at my regular job while earning enough to live on (which my regular job doesn't allow). 

Now I collect two paychecks! I received my first Arbonne check last week and although $290 isn't a lot, it's just the beginning. In addition to working my new home business vigorously, I visualize myself holding paychecks and seeing bank balances of certain amounts. As I do this I feel gratitude and joy over having reached my goals. I'll double my sales soon. Using Dispenza's technique, I'll be financially solvent again by the end of spring and earning enough for savings and vacations again by the end of summer!

I'm also visualizing myself fitting into clothes that I outgrew last year and feeling grateful to have my old body back. With no emphasis on changing my eating or exercise habits, I've started to lose weight over the past three months. It's very gradual, but it's happening. My favorite sentences in Dispenza's recorded meditation are "It's not your job to try to create it. It's your job to design it." Over the weekend I managed to zip up a jacket that I hadn't been able to fit into for over a year. Few 47-year-old women reverse a sudden 40-pound weight gain. I'm doing it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My mouth hurts

My second gum graft was on Wednesday, March 19.

Day 1 - On the day of the procedure, the only discomfort was getting the anesthesia. For the rest of the appointment and day I was either numb or on 800 mg. ibuprofen. Ice cream for dinner.

Day 2 - Stayed on the 800 mg. ibuprofen and felt fine. Soft foods only.

Day 3 - Stayed on the 800 mg. ibuprofen and felt fine. Soft foods only.

Day 4 - Didn't need so much of the 800 mg. ibuprofen, so I felt hopeful that the worst was over. Regular foods but nothing crunchy, hard or very chewy (lots of scrambled eggs, peanut buttter, cheese).

Day 5 - Stitches started to come out. They're supposed to do that after a few days, but it's not pleasant. Now the part of the roof of my mouth where the gum was taken from is exposed to my tongue and all food and beverages. Back on the ibuprofen!

Day 6 (today) - Stitches are pretty much out (as they're supposed to be at this point). Ow, ow, ow. I forgot this part. Ibuprofen doesn't do a whole lot because it's just raw, exposed, skin. I'm drinking homemade beef bone broth to give my body extra collagen and tissue-building support (tepid broth, not hot). Ow.

Day 7 - That'll be tomorrow. If I recall correctly from the first graft which was last month, day seven still hurts, but after that things get much better. Just gotta relax and do EFT tapping on it. I'll also focus on: my mouth healed amazingly fast and I feel fine. Feeling true gratitude about how well this all "went" will get me through it faster. Tapping and gratitude-based visualization helped last time, too.

Come on, now. Just a couple more days...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I go up and down. Here's down.

Do you ever get tired of being yourself? Do you ever think, "I don't want to be me anymore?"

I get so sick of being me. I get SO sick of being me. I'm not the only one, right?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Still damn busy

I have two jobs now: the full-time job I've had for five years and plan to stay in for 10 or 20 more, and my brand new Arbonne business. This has made me too busy to blog! All I can do right now are bullet points.

1. Hit my first month's goal of $1,000 in sales for February and am gunning for $2,000 this month. Please go to www.arbonne.com and use my consultant ID (19557175) to order stuff.

2. Hit a wall when I did too much (regular job and Arbonne) in one week. Took a week to recover.

3. Trying to take it easy on myself, but it's hard when I do things like lose a Delta airlines travel voucher for $400. Yeah, I did.

4. Am very aware that one of my 2014 goals is to get the dog ebook published, but right now I'm a 7-week-old Arbonne Independent Consultant who's trying to reach financial solvency first. I'm doing the part-time job because I'm newly divorced and need to earn more money just for basic living.

5. How am I feeling about the divorce? Still baffled as to what was so horrible about being married to me that my husband ended it, but I'll probably never get an answer to that, so I try to stay focused on how much happier I am single. I love being alone. My ex and I talk on the phone a few times a week just to check in. We're one of those friendly divorced couples.

And that's all I have time for, dammit. Looking forward to getting my life back under control. Oh, also I get another gum graft tomorrow which means a day off!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Don't blame the weather

So all these Chicagoans choose to live in Chicago, but rather than accept winter as part of the bargain, they complain about it. Why? My theory is that there are other things in their lives they're unhappy with, but they focus on the weather because it's easier to get sympathy from others if you complain about winter than if you complain about things you can change. People who complain about the weather frequently (every day) strike me as unhappy in general.

When those same Chicagoans complain about summer weather I want to say "What do you people want??" I think they just want to complain. I think they're actually upset about their jobs or relationships or health or living situations. These weather-complainers focus on the humidity or the snow because they're afraid to face their job situation or stagnated marriage or physical symptoms. They think they're trapped by the weather when the truth is that they feel trapped by their lives.

I'm done talking to complainers about the weather. The next time someone tries to pull me into an exchange about how cold it is, I'm going to say, "What do you expect? It's Chicago." This summer when people complain about the heat, I'm going to say, "What do you expect? It's Chicago." Then I'll change the subject.
Hey, Chicago: watch this!
(WGN's Dan Ponce parodies "Let It Go")

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Twilight Zone

Recently I realized that I don't watch enough programming to justify having subscriptions to both HuluPlus and Netflix. For as little time and attention span as I have for watching entertainment on a screen, it made no sense for me to pay for both, even though they have quite different offerings. What determined my decision was how much of the original, classic Twilight Zone series each service could offer me. Netflix carries four seasons. HuluPlus has all five.

I'm surprised and dismayed by the number of people to whom I mention "The Twilight Zone" who think I'm talking about Bella and what's-his-name. There is also a decreasing number of people who hear the name "The Twilight Zone" and think of the original series that broadcast on CBS from 1959 to 1964. That's understandable because there were a few iterations of The Twilight Zone based on the original series and people born after 1980 often know those better. One was the 1983 movie. Another was the 1980's TV series, and the last was a much shorter-lived TV series that aired from 2002-2003. They were all named The Twilight Zone, but I'm writing about the classic 1960s show.

I find episodes of The Twilight Zone comforting. The opening sequence is much creepier than the stories usually are and the series as a whole is incorrectly thought of as scary. In spite of the eerie "doo-doo-doo-doo" music, only a fraction of the episodes count as horror. The rest are characterized by an atmosphere of unease, confusion and "what the heck is going on?" The supernatural plots can be mysterious or sentimental and they're often moralistic, with the bad guys getting punished in the end. Some are comical to the point of fatuousness, and there are even a few episodes that bore me. They're the ones with characters that don't engage me, special effects that just don't work and plotlines that don't say much.

I have The Twilight Zone on my mind because I've been watching all the episodes in sequence for months now (Hulu.com has every one). It's startling to see stars before they were big: the Twilight Zone was one of the weekly anthology series that served as springboards for the careers of people such as Veronica Cartwright, Burt Reynolds, Elizabeth Montgomery, Cloris Leachman, Julie Newmar, Ron Howard, Telly Savalas and Robert Duvall to name just a few. I had no idea Carol Burnett had cut her comedy teeth in one of the humorous Twilight Zone episodes or that Robert Redford must have been at the very beginning of his career when he portrayed Death in an episode with then internationally-known actress Gladys Cooper. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei appeared in different episodes and I was completely startled to see that Ann Jillian played a 13-year-old in one story.

Several actors appeared in a few episodes over the years. The Twilight Zone was kind of like Law & Order that way: it re-used its guest stars as different characters. Shatner did a couple of scripts and so did Anne Francis. But the actor who impresses me the most is Jack Klugman who did three episodes in all. He's fine playing an alcoholic musician and then a cocky pool player, but I wonder if he was up for any awards for his performance as a heartsick father who bargains with God to save the life of his son who's dying in Vietnam. No, Rod Serling didn't shy away from politics, although he often used allegories to shroud what he was saying about xenophobia or the Cold War. But in "Praise for Pip" Vietnam is not only named and represented, but Klugman's character even says this of it: "There's not even supposed to be a war there." Edgy stuff.

Rod Serling actually refers to the real world "by name" in just a few of episodes, like that one. The only sitting president whose name was ever mentioned in a Twilight Zone episode was John Kennedy. There are also episodes about Nazis and/or concentration camps that take place in the "present time" (the early 1960s) and show supernatural payback for former war criminals and those who follow them. For all of its bizarre premises and plot twists, The Twilight Zone was really a very moralistic show, with people often being punished just as they deserve.

If you have any curiosity about how white people spoke, dressed and lived their daily lives in the early 1960s, take a look at Serling's original The Twilight Zone. It's fun to see how rich people were represented (with sparkling new tweed furniture) and the conditions in which rural people were shown to live. For the most part Serling presents an all-white universe with very few people of color, even in bit parts. George Takei and other Japanese actors show up in stories about World War II, and there's one episode that takes place in Mexico that seems to have used a few actual Mexican actors. And that's about it. I've watched almost all the episodes and the only African American part was played by a white actor in blackface in a horribly racist episode about cursed African artifacts. What the hell, Rod Serling?

I like to think The Twilight Zone is an important part of American cultural history. The episodes reveal a lot about what people were focused on when it first aired, and many of those things are still our focus. Or maybe I'm just a Twilight Zone geek. I don't personally know any other Twilight Zone geeks, but I suspect we all think the series was much bigger than regular people think. If you've never considered it, check it out on Hulu or Netflix. Start with the very first episode of the first season "Where Is Everybody?" It's only 25 minutes long, so why not? It sets the tone for being not scary but intriguing and odd enough that it keeps you watching just to see how the heck the story could possibly turn out.