Today I woke up and saw sunshine coming through my windows. Late yesterday evening a girlfriend of mine called to ask if Jane could spend the night with her little friend. My ex never showed. He was running late, had to run back into town and missed closing time. I'm feeling pretty good about life today. I made a list of things I'd like to get done. We need to have someone out to clean and inspect the chimney, I want to call and get a quote on having our ductwork cleaned, I left a message for someone that never got back to me, but there are other companies I can call. After Jane left it was just me and my oldest. We went to the store together, she really wanted to get a movie, but when we surveyed the Red Box selection neither of us were too impressed.

Jane's birthday is on Thursday so I'm really glad she had a chance to sleepover. This friend has had her over before, her mom is a sweetheart and I feel bad that I forgot to return the favor and have her over after she invited Jane out last time. I have a plain wooden crate that I've had for a while. It was dusty so I had it outside. My friend suggested putting a shelf on it and covering it in fabric to make a bench. This is the kind of thing I struggle with because I'm just not a crafty person. Not just that, I like the crate the way that it is so the idea of trudging to the store, doing a lot of extra work, and spending money I don't want to part with to make a crate I like into something I don't like, want, or need doesn't make sense to me. But she means well so I nodded politely.

Another thing that made my day better was going on Periscope and seeing my friend Dan. He's a jeweler and the story of how we met is a funny one to me. I can't remember what the tweet was that introduced us to each other, but he didn't get something that was pretty obvious. Once he saw what he hadn't before he felt pretty stupid. We laughed about it and we've been following each other on Twitter ever since. I love jewelry and Dan does such a nice job of teaching others without being condescending. Recently he went to Florida to visit his mother who has Parkinson's. That was a tough trip for him. I don't know the details, but he hasn't seen his mom in years and I know it was emotionally draining. He's posted some songs that remind him of her, tough stuff to be going through so I appreciate his candor and open honesty.

Yesterday I was writing and I did something I don't think I've done before. I let a character go deeper into his dark side. It was a scary thrill to write something like that so I hopped on Twitter and shared some of my thoughts about him and that process. I'm finding that as I evolve, so do my characters. These people have been in my life since 2006 and today I'm taking a short moment to appreciate them and what they've done for me and given to me through the years. There are times when I'm disappointed in them and myself, but then there are days like yesterday and a couple days ago where I explored some of their less sexy sides. That was a breakthrough for me as I'm often trying to show others that they are attractive. I like the idea that you can have a great job or a lot of money and still have major problems in your life. It's also been fun to play with the different people and bring out different sides of them.

After I went to bed my daughter must have gotten up to plug in her iPad. I was really frustrated with the girls when we were cleaning. I told them I didn't want to work with people who were as lazy as they were and that I would fire them if they worked for me. Perhaps I shouldn't have said it, in my book about the Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense it discusses a term they use called The Leveler. This is exactly what it sounds like, you just level with people. I think the content was okay, but I probably could have found a better way to express my frustration, then again, maybe not. I was clear about my expectations, they're fourteen and almost twelve, I shouldn't have to go into great detail when I ask one of them to do the dishes or clean the bathroom. My oldest 'cleaned' in the bathroom and when she was done I told her that if she was done in that time period, the bathroom really wasn't clean. She didn't bother wiping down the sink or sweeping the floor, she half assed the whole thing and even that may be stretching it.

I was thinking about this earlier and I decided that I'm setting good examples about hard work in some areas, but not others. They're probably confused about the standards that were set before since I had different ideas about clean than my ex did. Cleaning isn't a priority of his. I still have some things in Jane's closet. I need to deal with those and clear out that desk in her room too. I have some ideas, but I need help to execute them. I was thinking about going back to work yesterday. I really hate just sitting around home like we did yesterday. I'm fine with the cleaning, but my ex told me he was going to be there at six, then he was running late, then it was going to be eight, finally I got a text saying he wasn't coming and I'm really glad I mentally prepared myself for him to not follow through because I was less stressed than I would have been. 

Another task I'm thinking about is our closets. I'd like to take everything out of each one and only put back things that we really need, want, and love. I have a lot of glass jars. They aren't stored in the same place so they're all over the kitchen which makes it hard to go to a single cabinet and take one out. My ex asked if he could have the unopened bag of rice and I told him to help himself. That was a fifty dollar purchse so I probably should have asked him for some money, but I didn't think about it at the time which is the kind of thing that makes me angry at myself later on when I think about it. I'm naturally generous and I know the girls like rice so I thought if he had the rice they could make it at the condo. I would have felt better had I explained he was welcome to it, but I would appreciate some money to offset my expense since now I'm out the money and the rice. 

I've noticed that I have a lot less anxiety when I remember to take my B vitamins. The difference in how I feel is astonishing which really makes me wonder how I can forget. I need to buy vitamins, sometimes I put things off because they scare me. I have a ton of garden anxiety because it was such a traumatic topic when I was married. Part of it is learning something new, the other part is facing the past and how I felt when he yelled at me, mowed down my garden, ran over my raspberry canes, and told a friend of mine that he would do the same to any tomato plants she gave me. I overcame part of that when his aunt offered me some free raspberry stalks, only three of them survived. I can still remember my friend stopping by with tomato plants for me and him calling me a lazy worthless bitch in front of her and my kids.

I was nine months pregnant in July and I had let the garden go. I did not have easy pregnancies and today I know a large part of that was the stress at home. He was especially awful right before my youngest was born, I think that's why I subconsciously avoid planning anything for her although I don't do a lot for my oldest either. Childbirth is a time where you can really use every drop of support anyone gives you and to go into it with an angry and uncommunicative partner puts a lot more stress on the mother. Moms don't have a choice, they have to have their babies. Dads can cop out if they choose. There are many loving and supportive fathers, but my children didn't get the benefits of having a father who supported their mother which is really too bad. One of the loneliest moments of my life was being in labor while my ex and mom were snoring in my room. 

We weren't getting along any better when my second baby was born, I had my sisters there for her birth which really helped because they were there for me. Today my anger is on behalf of the girls who arrived in this world without parents who knew how to parent or how to resolve their differences. Today I am letting it go. He didn't have it in himself to give which is pathetic, but true. You can't give what you don't have and for his sake I hope he doesn't remain so emotionally stunted. Yesterday I sat on the couch with my youngest. Unexpectedly she told me I should be an interior decorator because I was really good at it. That really warmed my heart so I talked to her about how I had thought about going back to school for it. I told her we could go into business together, she said she wanted to go into fashion or become a makeup artist and I said a lot of the same color and light principles applied.

Later on we watched some TV together. Years ago my dad gave the girls some Hans Christian Andersen videos so we watched the original version of The Little Mermaid where she turns to seafoam. Another video that had a powerful impact on me was one about a man who traded a horse for a cow, the cow for a sheep, the sheep for a goose, the goose for a hen, the hen for something else, and ended up bringing home a bag of rotten apples. Wealthy city folks followed him home to listen to the tongue lashing his wife was going to give him, the simple man replied that he would probably get a kiss and the well dressed folks laughed heartily. But when he came home and shared his story she was delighted at every trade he made, seeing only the positives of a cow, sheep, goose, hen, and rotten apples that she could give to their neighbors so more apple trees could grow. The man was given a purse of gold, but I think the lesson is far greater than that.

My children whine and complain quite a bit and I realized that's because their parents do. I really need to work at seeing things from other perspectives. I let latent hostility build instead of finding outlets for my anger. I was walking down the stairs the other day, now I can't even remember what was so upsetting, but I was seriously upset. My daughter poured a river of syrup over her bacon and I yelled at her for that, wishing I could have handled that differently when I saw her jump. Getting away from your past is so had. I have so many memories of my parents doing exactly that, seeing a potential 'disaster' and yelling when it wasn't going to help or change anything. I should have apologized to my daughter after that, I could see my food dollars free falling onto her plate to coat her peppered bacon, I felt disrespected, unloved, unthanked, and overworked while being underpaid at that moment.

I spent some time talking with Jill about school. She's very excited about it. I see a lot of my ex in her and that trigges certain reactions. She's not him and I'm not my father so I have to remember that and counsel myself. Yesterday I laid on my bed and felt myself really relaxing. I was breathing into my back and getting more circulation in my hands. I don't know how long I laid there, but it was a golden memory and I wish I knew everything I had done to get there. Part of it was my relaxation book, every word I read feels like a victory where I don't know if I need to advance or retreat and digest what I've learned. I haven't done essential oils around the house recently so I experimented with lime and ylang ylang which isn't my favorite, but does help to calm me down. It wasn't the greatest combination, but I'm glad I tried something new as I have a tendency to get stuck in ruts. A book I have talks about essential oil fatigue and I have my go to favorites that benefit from short reprieves. 

Today I was thinking about the steps I've made to improve my life. Essential oils is an area that has been almost one hundred percent positive for me. I have a great chiropractor and my new massage therapist gave me the name and number of a new doctor I could see. Decluttering has probably made the biggest difference out of all the changes I've made and I haven't thrown in the towel yet. I had no idea things were weighing me down like they were. Decorating has been a largely positive new undertaking. I approach things from a fresh perspective and that's been uplifting, soothing, and fun as well as ego boosting. Food has slipped, money probably has too, but I'm less concerned about areas where I've been better before. Learning new things takes time and I'm going to take this moment to give myself some pats on the back because as my character said yesterday, there were stretches where every morning he woke up and thought about killing himself when he realized he hadn't died in his sleep. I wasn't that bad, but the sentiment was familiar. I'm crawling out of the hole and creeping toward the warmer, brighter, softer lights in my life and it's more joy filled and bountiful than I could have imagined it to be. This person living in darkness has seen a great light and everything is better for that. 

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