Writing used to be a very cathartic and almost automatic hobby of mine. When I couldn't escape into books or cooking I'd log onto my computer and start writing. It didn't matter that what I wrote wasn't very good. Eventually I evolved and sometimes there isn't a self worth metric you can use to evaluate a particular piece. In many ways writing helped me through some particularly tough times and it's much cheaper than paying a therapist. Lately I haven't been writing much. Some part of me thinks this may be a good thing however what bothers me is time is slipping away and if I don't remember things that happened when my children were four and six what is my memory going to be like ten, twenty or even thirty years from now?

When I was a little kid I can remember watching people do things I thought were amazing. Even things that were not particularly difficult startled me because in my mind I was watching them jump thinking - my knees would hurt if I tried that. My father treated most of his girls as if we were boys. While I appreciate that to some extent a larger part of me remembers crying because it hurt to get up and run every morning. From his perspective it seemed like I was lazy and I suppose the inability to recognize what truly motivates a child given a certain situation is a failing of every parent.

Regardless of how far I've come since the days of disease diagnosis I very often feel that I will never be better and the way things are now are as good as they are going to get. Last Friday I came home wondering how long it would take my stomach to settle. Around three I laid on my bathroom floor shivering under a towel. I was so sick I physically could not call for help and I've thrown up more than my fair share of times but I have never had such a sore throat from vomiting stomach acid. I called in sick last Thursday because I had to, not because I wanted to and what frustrates me most is I have spent the money for physicians to tell me what is wrong and all I have is an enormous stack of bills without any real pain relief.

While I know what is wrong from a disease standpoint I don't know how these three diseases are affecting my digestion. It seems like I've tried every diet out there and some of them work for a while however it seems that they all have their limitations. My family doesn't understand what I'm going through. People at work tend to be slightly more supportive which is nice but at the end of the day I'm paid to perform and so many times I look at the phone wondering how I can force myself to pick it up instead of laying on the floor and wishing for the world to end. I'm sure that sounds dramatic but the pain is so overwhelming and no one seems to be able to tell me why things hurt or what I can do to make it stop.

This latest diet I've been on has seemed to help some. I know it takes time to heal things and compared to where I was when my children were much younger..., I don't even like to think about the days when I stumbled around in a fog of my own where I could do only the barest of essentials and even those I couldn't do well. I can't rewind the clock, I can't make up for the time when my children were cheated out of a parent and part of me can't blame my husband for being mad because I'm frustrated at my own limitations. Right now my house is a mess. We had a wedding to go to so I spent the morning fixing hair after breakfast. 

When priorities and value systems do not match there is conflict. If there is conflict tension and unrest dwell in your home. Writing about domestic tranquility is something I rarely attempt since I have little personal experience to draw from. I'm not saying that my life is any better or any worse than anyone else's. I'm just venting, frustrated and writing is an outlet where I can let my mind wander over the things that bother me most. The other night all of us played catch together. My sisters said they are still afraid of the ball. Both of my girls got hit in the mouth however after a few tears they went back to their spots and I'm really proud of them for not quitting.

This year my oldest is playing volleyball and we are going to spend quite a bit of money so our youngest can play soccer. Every summer my girls go to soccer camp. Last year my youngest didn't go the first day and reluctantly attended the remainder of the time so when her coach came up to me and told her that she had played remarkably well I was sure that he was confusing the two girls. They look alike, people are constantly asking if they are twins and the girls get annoyed by this but such is life. When I realized that the coach actually was speaking about my youngest daughter I have to admit that I was surprised by how well he said she played.

When he asked if we had plans to put her in soccer during the fall I thought about the cost and shook my head. He said it was something we should consider but I didn't think we could afford it so I didn't bother bringing it up again until recently. Back in May my husband moved his office to the same building where my mother works. The town we live in is relatively small and we are charged out of town fees because we are just over the county line and therefore considered non-residents for recreational programs. Because my husband's office was in a larger city we were able to put the girls in some park and rec programs and we'll definitely do things differently next year but there was some value in having them exposed to more things than our little town could provide.

My children have always taken swimming lessons at the YMCA and they divide the children up by ability rather than age so I kind of assumed that other places would do that as well. Unfortunately my youngest got stuck in a class with children her age who were learning to put their faces in the water so she sat there bored out of her mind during swim lessons. My oldest took diving lessons and neither of the girls love to swim laps but those practice sessions made an amazing difference when it came to actually swimming in the pool. Because my children learned to swim at the Y they were taught differently than the park and rec kids. My mom told me that my daughter was a better swimmer than my niece but was put in a lower level because she had never been taught some of the things they think she should have known.

My father-in-law's wife taught school and coached girls for the majority of her 35 years in education. We were over at their house after shopping for dresses to wear to the upcoming wedding when she brought up the new school year. My youngest has always had trouble with the other girls in her class and it really stinks that she's going to be with these girls until she's in eighth grade. My father-in-law's wife said that studies have shown that if you have one friend you can talk to and hang out with school is a much better experience so it bothers me that my youngest doesn't have a single girl friend that she can call a good friend. That's when we discussed soccer and instead of looking at it as a mainly athletic event my father-in-law's wife said it would be an opportunity for my daughter to meet some new people and since her sister isn't also playing it would be something that only she did and that would make it special for her.

It seems to me that my oldest is more like me while my youngest is more like her father. My oldest is a daddy's girl and my youngest clings more to me. I wish things were different but I'm not exactly sure what I should change or how to start. Before I found out I had complicated health issues getting divorced seemed like the good and obvious decision. Recently my husband has been much nicer to me. I love the nice things he does and I've gotten some recognition that I've felt has been long overdue but there is still a fundamental mis-matching of ideals. Two idealists have problems agreeing on anything if they are both strong and differently willed. 

At work I seem to know how to deal with people and situations. If I connect with people we go forward and the account typically grows if they have the resources to expand. If not we keep in touch and I assist when I can. Then I have those accounts that I can't reach regardless of how much effort I put into the relationship. As a person I come with flaws. I'm really struggling with the idea that my husband loves me more and in a different way than I love him. When I see people with great potential I expect them to rise to that potential. It's one of the gifts I use at work to grow accounts. I can recognize talent and develop it.

My mother is very good at her job however none of her five children are close to her. My father has a horrible life and I can see my life taking some of the same turns his has. We're both stubborn, we both love to write, we like things our way and we have difficulty identifying with others who disagree with our opinions. All five of us make fun of him which is juvenile of us. I can't make myself love him or even do my duty towards him. My attitude vacilates between "I should be a good daughter and do XY and Z" and "You made your bed, have fun lying in it". Mostly I feel sorry for him however he's so disagreeable that tempers my empathy. It's like he doesn't even try to help himself and that I can't respect.

The other day my aunt and uncle sent me a link to a job that pays well. A lot of the time I'm unsure of how to make things work at home. If I do what I need to and want to there is discord because my attitudes and decisions are not supported or welcomed by others. I can't always tell if I'm being overly harsh or strict or the girls really are eating junk and disregarding their chores and homework. I think about the way things were when I was a child. I suppose all parents want what is best for a child however agreement about what is best is unlikely. I'm sad, in pain, confused, determined and annoyed at myself and others.

Everything you read and hear about food seems contradictory. Vitamins are good for you, vitamins are not necessary, you should get your nutrition from food. Saturated fat is good, saturated fat leads to heart disease and high cholesterol. Experts agree on so little it makes me wonder which camp I should support. I tried being a vegetarian with very disastrous results. I can't eat barley, rice, oats, tomatoes, potatoes, most dairy, wheat, shellfish or rye. The other day I read this Facebook post that said something along the lines of "You don't look sick" and that frustrates me too because people are now telling me how good I look and want to know what my beauty secrets are. The secret is I have no secret. I try to follow the basics of enough rest, good food and reduced stress but nothing seems to be able to repair the years of damage that eating gluten has caused.

I spent a day making calls so now all of the medical bills I have are set up for monthly payments. By 2014 I should be done paying down all those bills but that seems so far off now. I want someone to tell me what to do, to help me get started, to replace my old bad habits with new fresh ones. I want to be able to make it through a day that starts at five and ends at nine without feeling drained, exhausted or weepy. I want fresh air, sunshine, good health and I want to enjoy the time I have with my children before those difficult teenage years begin. I'd like to start over, wipe the slate clean only you can never go back only forward. I wish I knew that the other side was within reach and somehow I could break on through the life I have into the life I want.

Financially I feel as if I am making some good moves. When the stock market started dropping I spent about $8,000 and got bargains on everything I bought. My last paycheck had my first contribution to the new company 401(k) and it was nice to hear my aunt and uncle tell me that I'm on track for getting out of debt regardless of how long it's going to take me to get there. My current plan depends on not acquiring any new bills so I have to budget very carefully and pray that nothing unexpected happens to my car or my body that requires expensive treatment. Formerly I used to consider myself pessimistic, then I was overly optimistic. I'm always going to be idealistic but maybe I'm finally starting to temper some of that with practical applications that help me go in the direction of personal growth and eventual goal achievement.

Until next time,

j

Happy Birthday, Mouq

I'm generally inclined to think that anniversaries are kind of silly. And besides, I could probably get these few items at any other time of the year, if I actually remembered to ask, which is something I was pseudo-literally forced to do just for this occasion. But neither of those points are reasons not to enjoy what I got... All of which I am very happy and satisfied with.


Believe it or not, I didn't start writing this just so I could elaborate on how well-off I am in the Tea&Book Department.
I'm generally inclined to think that anniversaries are kind of silly, but they are milestones. Right now, I've lived 15 Earth cycles with a high accuracy of measurement.

Last year my birthday was on the weekend, too, and as always it was right before or just barely after school started; I don't remember which, nor do I remember if it was just before or on my birthday that I flew over North America, from SJC to PHL with I think a connecting flight- yes, it was on my birthday, because the minimum age for being able to do that by myself is 14 on Southwest Airlines.

I can only imagine, because I can't recall, my own partial relief, from the half-contained tensions I faced in California, as I started school, started (badly, at first) cross country, the first time I had ever taken part in a sport, and my socially lazy and nervously unassertive self got back to the some of the people who thought I was something amazing, even if my oft slipped grades have rarely proved it on paper, accumulating the high test scores and ignored homework assignments. Fall went by too fast, but I remember being wonderfully happy, doing well in school then coming home and staying up far-too-late playing with pages and pages of code, which I had just learned several languages of over that summer with dad, starting with Perl, going systematically through almost all the examples in the book and putting together my own code between before moving on to other languages. It worked much much much better than trying to teach myself it by forcing myself to read through and memorize a Javascript book that my dad had handed to me two summers before.

Winter came and filled me with a dread so great that I somehow blocked myself from recognizing it, putting a thick veal over everything I did much like the one I had the year before, when I moved around the same time of the year. My grandfather had been having trouble with cancer, and they had thought it was gone only months before, but he came back to the hospital with it in an advanced stage and died two days before Christmas. My mom came back from Vermont, where he and my grandmother operated an inn, on the Eve. I smiled and did my best to laugh and enjoy Christmas, but the enjoyment felt empty and worthless like pretend paper money. The day after Christmas, I flew back over the States, and returned a few days after an unusually uneventful year-change.

*weeping as Mouq presses CMD+R: the page refreshes and he looses half his work*

During that week, I did my best to ignore the obvious contempt that my step-mother was trying-but-not-really to hide from me. Near the end of it, my step-brother had gotten upset because he thought he had done something terribly wrong to me, and I tried to comfort him, because I didn't really think that he had. He wanted to go tell his parents so that he could go and get EVEN MORE upset, so I told him not to go, because, as I said, he didn't really do anything wrong, and it was OK. All the stress that my step-mom had built up, apparently on the mostly empty threat of divorce if she hadn't just for that week, was release on this trivial issue of telling him not to tell her and she ended up saying something at one point which I won't repeat here because I wouldn't even write it in a private journal, and has yet to express the remotest regret from saying it, even if it is mostly baseless...

*Mouq saves right away this time*

I went back to school in a fog and started winter track, which I pretended not to consider a living hell that ate up all of what little energy I had. My grades dropped from bad to awful, and even though I was actually helped by the lenience and, afterward, the short time of some motivation given by being stuck in bed all week* that pulled my second quarter grades up from what I might have predicted, my third semester was simply terrible, and by the end I was failing or almost failing several classes which I should have been passing easily. The news disturbed my father greatly, but my step-mother claimed that she "predicted" it would happen, because I am so lazy, etc., etc. and she decided that my I would not be coming down that summer, which both caused me to have to finally explain to my parents what had happened that winter break and afterwards, I think, relief from everyone that I wouldn't be going down, even if it meant that nothing could possibly be resolved.

In the fourth semester, I became better and better and better friends with a girl previously acquainted with. After I gave an only half-platonic approach, my head decided for itself that I was falling in love with this girl. I not sure what she thought of me from herself, she only never said "no"; but our mutual friends said that she definitely had some level of affection for me... after a month or so of trying to advance the relationship beyond 'friendship', she met a sophomore at a school event (while I was with her, I may add) and started going out with him almost immediately. She tried to detach from me, successfully, and I lost the best friend I had ever had. The school year ended with mediocre grades, and a pair of steampunk goggles.

Somehow, at some point after school ended, I became incredibly more self-aware and much less ignorant, but this was when I had locked myself away in my room except when we went out, so I don't think it was all that obvious to anyone but myself. It was weird, being at home** during the summer for the first time that I could remember, except small photograph-aided memories of toddler-hood. We spent some time first at my step-dad's parent's (refered to in RL as, yes, my grandparents) in Connecticut, then spent much more time in Vermont with my grandmother and her cousin-one-removed and relatives. A little more recently, we went on what was called our "first real vacation". We went out to be at my step-dad's cousin's wedding, but stayed out for ourselves, not to visit a family member. My dad, however, found out that we were right in the Bay Area (well, I wasn't going to lie to him), and I met with him and we really actually talked for the first time in ever, and I'm glad.

Now, it's the day before school starts. A point more important than any other anniversary, and I don't have any plane ride to distract me from my nervousness. However, I think I'm the best equipped to handle this year than I've ever been.

Wish me luck, guys, and a happy new year!


*I really thought it was a virus, and had my perfectly healthy blood tested, the results confusing to me. They didn't let on, but I think my parents figured it out quickly. Also, the end of the week in bed was when I created my e2 account.
**It's kind of unfair, but I honestly feel much more at home here, with my mom and step-dad.

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