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I'm Tired.

I've been tired all day today, physically and mentally. I think alot of it has to do with thinking, since exertion of mental power tends to make one sleepy. I came home, sat down, and started talking to my mother. She went through the whole discussion about what's wrong, are you depressed, she's a good mom. No, I'm not depressed. I'm just tired.

Tired of what? I'm tired of being here. It's all the same.

I started a collection today, I'm keeping all of my money in an envelope, stashed. That just feels better to me than a savings account at a bank. My goal: $2000 in cash. However, I have previous expenses. Such as a $1000 payment to my uncle for the car I recieved. and another $294 in insurance payments till July; So I'll keep a record, here.

My clutch is slipping on my car, or it's getting close to slipping. I'd hate for it to go out, that's another $119 for the disc and pressure plate; plus I don't know how to change it, I've never done it before. I've got the instructions but it's not a task I'd love to take on by myself. Not today anyway. If I can find a shop that'll do it for a mere $200 or less then i'll go with that. I don't have all the tools necessary yet.

update: thought it might be a better idea to put the goals and whatnot on my homenode instead of consistantly repeating that mess on seprate nodes.

Running Log: An early morning rain, a fast run, and croakies in the swamp

36 minutes. Fast pace.

A soft morning rain had covered the ground with slickness. It was very pleasant running temperature: in the high 40s with spring moistness in the air. Only minimal running gear needed today.

I hadn't run the last few days, more due to busyness than anything else. Today it felt so good to really let loose and run hard.

I hit the bike trail faster than I'd ever remembered doing. Consequently, I was able to spend as much time on the W&OD bike trail as on getting there.

The bridle trail was muddy from the rain, but not terribly so. Horse hoof prints were evident. A few horse stables in the area keep trail horses, and young women usually amble their horses here at twilight the night before.

Croakies were out. Yay! I love hearing those little frogs. For as little as they are they make a tremendous amount of noise. It is charming to run past a portion of a low-lying flood plane swamp and hear their throaty croaks. Hundreds of frogs singing in a random order - it sounds like a symphony.

I was able to get as far as the second Difficult Run bridge before turning back. It was actually fun to run today. Finally I am seeing some progress from the pitiful few hours on the trail. Weight is still 220 lb. I expect the needle to go down in the next week or two.

Thanks, Johnny, for the encouragement. Iron sharpens iron, as the good book says. It's easier to run in the morning, knowing some git is going to hold my performance up to my own publicly published standard.

Some day I'll be able to get as creative as Johnny does in describing the running regimen. Right now, no women are involved, no glances are exchanged in mirrors, no lusty intentions are concealed as gazes are broken off at just the right moment. It's only me and the trail, the croakies and me. The brain's been turned off and the body's just going along for the ride. That is its own reward.


Wow. What a wild two months this has been for me.

The last time I wrote here (apart from mentioning my friend who took his own life on February 11, 2004), I had just filed for divorce, wasn't sure how things were going to work out, and was pretty terrified.

Today, things are different, and not just in the obvious ways. First, a chronological update of what happened after my last post on January 17, 2004 on the subject.

Monday, January 19, 2004
This technically began the night before, but my life changed forever around 5:00am Monday. I was having trouble sleeping, as always; I stayed up late while my (now ex-)wife went to bed around 4:00am. I finally wandered into bed around 5:00am, and she hadn't fallen asleep yet. We argued for awhile, when she finally got frustrated and hit me. Not hard, but a good shove in the back.

That was it. That was the moment it all changed. I'd taken her abuse for years, and that was it. No more; not another second. At that moment, I got up, started getting dressed, and tried to leave. She tried to stop me, and after half an hour and a call to the police, I finally got out.

Because of the divorce, her mother was flying in from Colorado to help her get things together and prepare for the move. Because her mother's a complete and utter cheap bastard, she flew into Laughlin, Nevada instead of directly to Las Vegas, Nevada. This meant my ex-wife had to drive all the way out there, pick her happy ass up, and drive all the way back. I stayed gone long enough for her to leave towards Laughlin. Then I started packing my car to leave for good.

I had two arms full of stuff left to load, and as I started to put one of them into the car, I saw what I hoped I wouldn't have to see. She'd gotten back. Another call to the police, a heated argument between myself, my ex-wife, and her mother, and an hour later, I was on the road to California to start a new life.

Thursday, March 4, 2004
Today, I have all my debts (except the house), and little else. I have my car, and my ex-wife still has the other one. I'm flying back one last time to pick up the last of the belonging I'm claiming, and to bring the other car back. She can't pay for it, so she can't keep it.

As of February 5, 2004, I am divorced. The car is the only remaining tie I have to that old life, and this weekend I will reclaim it and sever that final bond. Until I do that, I know the relationship I have with a very special woman here can't grow any stronger or go any further. That is unacceptable to me, and this weekend I will correct the issue.

The house is gone. I remember writing about it in the daylogs here and in my own personal "about me" spot on the willfe account. I was so excited to have it, so thrilled to know it was mine. Now, it no longer is. I have two car-fulls of my personal belongings, my car, and my debts left. Not a whole lot. Rather like the Narrator in Fight Club, I have realized that I don't need much to be happy. That brings me to...

The New Relationship
This part was the most unexpected, but surely also the most wonderful change in my life.

I originally met this lovely lady online, just as it is in most of these modern-day stories. I met her in person for the first time in early January this year, a week before my ex-wife and I filed for divorce. There was chemistry, to be sure, from the moment we met, and I still look back on that day and smile like I've never smiled before.

When I went back to Vegas after that weekend, things got worse between myself and my ex-wife. This woman was my pillar, and the catalyst I needed to finally turn on the strength and courage I had buried deep within me, slice through all the abuse, confusion, and anger that defined my life, and get the hell out.

Among the things she said to me, what stood out the most was the offer that I could come live with her for awhile if things got bad and I needed to escape. She'd help me get back on my feet, and I wouldn't have to worry about food and shelter at the very least. That was the final thing I needed to finally reach the conclusion that leaving was the right thing to do. I had the need to get out, I had a means of getting somewhere, and finally, I had a place to go that would get me far away from my ex-wife, and put me in a wonderful position to get back out into the world and pick up working on my career.

Erica (the beautiful woman I've been gushing about) stayed true to her word, and when I told her what had happened that Monday she reminded me that I was welcome. I hadn't slept in over a day but I made the 10 hour drive anyway and arrived at her door tired and broken. Just as I had asked for in my last daylog entry here on the subject, she let me crumble to pieces and then helped put me back together.

For a few days, as I got settled in and she got used to me being around, it seemed like we were going to get along just fine, working and living well together. Then, we both began to recognize there was more than just friendship at work, and it dawned on us that it was love.

An Interlude
I should pause the tale here to talk about what I felt inside the very day I met her in person. Words can't describe it very well, but it's never felt anything like that with anyone else I've ever known. The attraction was instant, obviously, but it was deeper than that. I knew (and I didn't realize I knew until just two days ago) I was in the presence of someone very special, someone who will be by my side forever and never let me go.

Back to It...
As we talked about becoming serious, the issue of her former lover came up. They have been friends for a long time, and had been dating up until very shortly before I first arrived. Because he didn't want it to be over, and because she didn't want to hurt him, he didn't quite realize fully that it was over until a week after I moved in.

That was a hard weekend -- it hurt Erica deeply to go through that conversation and argument with him, because she still cares about him. Having met him two weeks prior and worked with him on a difficult, time-sensitive and mission critical project, I understand why she cares about him. He's a pretty good person. If my relationship with Erica hadn't happened the way it has, he and I would be pretty good friends.

After that, though, we talked about us. We talked about the possibility that she and I might not work out together in the long term. She asked me whether I'd abandon her, and her business, if it didn't work out. I told her I wouldn't. I told her that I was here for her in whatever capacity she needed me. I told her how I felt about her, and about our relationship, and we chose to move forward with it.

Until last Sunday, things were wonderful. I could feel something coming as early as last Friday, but Sunday is when it really came to a head and she told me what was brewing in her mind.

She had decided she isn't finished with him entirely. Sunday, she told me she didn't think it was going to work out between us.

That's When I Started to Change
I almost gave up. I was very close to just throwing in the towel on everything -- letting her go, letting my life go, letting it all go. Sunday night, when she told me, I cried a good amount, told her I wanted her to keep trying, but got nowhere. She seemed pretty firm and has made up her mind.

Monday, I fell back into that horrible pit of self-pity, that does nobody any good. She proved she still cared for me deeply by all but bitch-slapping me out of it. She used the perfect combination of harsh tone, intolerance, and frustration (finally saying "Fuck this, I'm not listening to any more of this, I'm done.") to get me out of it.

Monday night, I stayed up late and dove into my mind and soul to figure out who I really was, and what I really wanted. I emerged from that plunge a new man.

I also realized what I knew for a long time but hadn't recognized before now.

Throughout my life, I've been a mildly timid and shy person. I had a horrible self-image, no confidence whatsoever, and so on. She accepted me even with those two glaring faults, but decided it was time to let me go. She said it wasn't anything I did, or didn't do. She said she and I are right for each other, and that we are great together, and that it was just a timing issue (if only she'd met me first, etc.).

Monday night, I mustered up all my strength and forced a change that has been needed for a long damned time. Literally overnight, like a switch flipping in my mind, many things changed. I suddenly didn't think of myself as ugly and unattractive. I suddenly had lots of confidence.

Most importantly, I knew she is right for me at that moment.. No longer just "feeling", or "thinking", as in "I feel she's right for me," and "I think she's right for me." There was no question or doubt left. She is right for me. I no longer have any lingering self-doubt or self-pity. I am right for her.

I told her all this in the car Tuesday evening during an hour-long drive. I told her things. I didn't say "I feel," or "I think." I said "I know." I didn't falter, I didn't doubt myself, and I spoke with a confidence that I didn't previously think myself capable of.

I told her everything she was about to do was wrong (because it still is, if she ultimately chooses to go that way). I told her I knew we were right for each other. I told her I knew that trying to rekindle that old flame was just going to cause her pain and not much else. I told her that I knew with absolute certainty that she was "artificially" distancing herself from me, forcibly, denying feelings and what she also knows because it's a bit intimidating, and because she still feels bad for him.

I made it perfectly clear, without any room for ambiguity, that I stood ready to be by her side now and forever. That I was ready for a full-on relationship with her, good and bad, tough times and good, and that I would never leave her side. I described to her what our lives will be like together in ten years, in fifteen years. I shared my hopes and dreams with her, and promised her I'd make sure she achieved hers. I gave her a list of "logical" reasons why we're right for each other a mile long, then, after being objective for the whole car trip and telling it like it was, I gave her the emotional reasons too.

I love her dearly, more than anyone I've ever known. Every single day she gives me new strength, new character, and makes me a better man. Every day, I do the same for her -- providing her with someone to rant to, someone to listen to, and someone there to help hold her up when things get bad. It's not a selfish desire of mine to stay with her; it's what is right for both of us.

She'd already told me she thought we were close to perfection. I had accepted that but then chosen to let her try out what she told me she wanted Sunday. But I let myself forget, for a bit at least, that she'd warned me she might try to push me away, and that I shouldn't let her do it.

Tuesday, I finally acted to make sure she didn't just push me away. I proved to her that I would fight to the ends of the world for her, that I would stand up strong and tall, proudly proclaiming that I am good enough for her, that I do deserve her, and that she deserves me. I can give her the entire world on a silver platter, and she can make me invincible. Together, we have an incredible life ahead of us.

Apart, I know our lives won't be nearly as good. After I told her all this, she thanked me, and said she was hoping to hear me tell her those things.

Where Are We Now, Then?
A hard place. She is still working out a lot of things inside. Lots of logical and emotional arguments going back and forth there in her mind and heart, to be sure. She's withdrawn a bit -- we're not as touchy-feely or intimate, and the "dating" part of our relationship is on hold.

That part is hard for me -- I got used to her very quickly, and became very comfortable with holding and touching her, being close to her, and showing all that emotion to the entire world. Right now, she has still distanced herself from me in that regard, and that hurts. I know she's doing it because she thinks it's what's best for her at the moment -- to protect herself from getting more attached in either direction before she makes a decision.

Still, knowing that doesn't make it feel any better for me. It's a bit colder; I can't just randomly hold her at night, cuddle her, give her a kiss, or hold her hand when she's upset. We flirt like crazy, but it always stops there. It's awkward, because I know she wants more than that, but is forcing herself to hold back. I told her tonight that I wish she wouldn't do that; it's hurting us both needlessly. I naturally don't want to push her into anything forcefully. That isn't right. But I know that we are right, and I'm not letting go of that.

We deserve each other. We deserve that relationship. It deserves a chance.

I know all these things. I have known them for months, but didn't realize it until Monday night this week. By telling her about all of it, I have given her the last piece she needs to put our relationship back together and move it forward.

I have to be here for her, through all this awkward "distance" and painful "just give me more time" moments, to help her through this. I will be here for her, and I will help her make it through this. We will make it, and we'll emerge stronger, and more in love with each other than when we started.

My friends have commented lately that I am a completely different person from the one they used to know. It's because I know everything I've said to Erica, and written here, are true. There's no doubt anymore. No wriggle room for my mind to pull its old self-doubt tricks.

I know more than anything else that we belong together, and we will be together when this is all done with. This is my proving grounds, where I must repeatedly prove myself to her. I know all these things are true, but my real task is to prove them to her. I must continually prove my value, my worth, my self-confidence, and that my knowledge is true.

I will.

I love you, Erica. The man you heard from Tuesday in the car is the one who stands ready to be with you, right now, and all the way until he breathes his last breath. He is the man you will have; you need only give the word, and he's yours. He will prove himself to you every day of his life, and be there to help you, support you, and love you every day of yours. The days of self-pity, hesitation, and self-doubt are over.

We can put all this behind us. I can help you heal. You know your friendship with him will never end, and that I will never interfere with that. He will be okay in the long run. You know, though, as much as I do, that you and I are the right people for each other. I've told you why, and I've told you how I know. It's up to you to take that knowledge and run with it. I'll help you get through the pain you face, and I will be yours forever. I will bring out the best in you, let you shine, and help you show the world what you can do. We will nail every goal and dream we put forth, because there simply is no alternative. We will not, can not, fail.

I have gone through a huge amount of change over the past two months, all for the better. Some of those changes were for you, and some was for me. I am not motivated by selfishness or lust. I want what is right for both of us. I haven't just changed for you. I've done it for me as well. I'm a stronger, better person now, and I will continue to improve myself until the day I die. With you by my side, I'll become even better, and I can't wait to share that with you.

Let's do this together, Erica.

I think that I did a very bad thing yesterday. I wanted to send my boyfriend a love letter, so I wrote out all the things that I wanted to say on my flowery stationary, dabbed it with some Cool Water perfume, and stuffed it in the envelope. I'd already written our addresses on there, but the last thing that I needed was a stamp. My mother wasn't home and she is the only one that actually buys stamps in my house. Of course me being the "I need everything when I want it girl," I couldn't wait until she got home. So, I found an old envelope from my boyfriend (when he mailed me my ring and a sticker that I'd left over his house) and saw that the stamp on the envelope wasn't stamped with black ink. There it was a 37 cents, red, white, and blue, calling out to me, "Shakita, take me! Take me! No one will ever know..." I pondered for a moment...and asked myself a series of questions; Is it illegal to take a stamp from another envelope, even if it's not stamped? What if they started using a kind of ink that would only show up on a black light? What if I get caught and this goes on my permenant record? Soon those questions left my mind when I thought about how badly I wanted to put that little old piece of stationary in the mail box. So, I took the stamp off the envelope, got my little sister's good old Elmer's Glue, and glued that proud stamp to my love letter. And I didn't even get caught, thanks America!

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all of your kindness over my recent loss. It has been a strong source of a much-needed support. I have made a little keepsake fascicle by printing up everyone’s offerings including personal contributions listed in GrouchyOldMan’s day log and prefaced the collection with etouffee’s wonderfully observant and poignant It is difficult to wake up to the empty spots. I shared these mementos with my family and hubby says it is so very generous of you all to take the time and make use of your talents as condolences. It is a priceless gift.

Finding The Perfect Puppy has been a vast undertaking; we think it may have been born on March 1, 2003. After several attempts to locate her we finally discovered her at the Humane Society. When we arrived there were several puppies that met our desires but they were all spoken for. Then we explained our situation to Sarah at the front desk.

    After losing both our dogs in the span of forty days our friends and family have sent us on a quest to find the Perfect Puppy. They would like it to…
    and here I opened up the packet and began to read
    ... be smart as a whip, be fierce when necessary, be patient and be a bit strange looking. Make soft dawgy snoring and friends with everyone, except the UPS guy. She should have a wet nose, be all licks for cuddling and playing and have floppy ears with a wagging tail.

    She must be willing to sit and stay; will live at our house and go to Obedience School her salary will be bed; board; and love. At obedience school we will teach her to systematically chew up any garment, clothing or footwear which has fallen out of fashion, thereby ensuring we are all perfectly trendy and sharply-dressed.

Then Number One Son took over because the words ran together while the paper became wet and blurry. Clearing his throat he continued:

    The perfect puppy will be required to ask questions while roaming the desert because Mom will answer the new puppy's questions, just as she did the old ones; with love and affection. This is what a well-loved dog does, and this puppy will be loved.

    We really like big dogs, so this puppy must get bigger and be magical enough to soften and heal the hardest of hearts and stubbornest of minds and that's possibly the most perfect thing of all. She’s required to possess a love unflinching that cannot lie-- in exchange we will give her our hearts to tear.

By now more than a few people had gathered around to hear and Number_Two_Son asked for his turn to read:

    This litter of humans would like their Perfect_Puppy to never let us out of her sight. We promise never to berate her while giving her a stern look for chewing up our favorite shoes. She will forgive us for taking longer than 30 seconds to open the door so she can go outside and will be waiting patiently for us a half hour before we actually walk in the door.

    The Perfect_Puppy will bravely and single-handedly take on houseflies, strangers, and any scraps of paper that happen to be lying around. Insist on going in and out through her favorite door, a hundred times a day while constantly monitoring the perimeter and reporting back. All new furniture will be suspect until she has had a long nap on it. She will spend hours doing something completely pointless, because even perfect puppies should have a vice.

    The Perfect_Puppy will, in fact, not be a cat,
    and it was here that everyone broke out in broad grins
    …but bark our names with a special rough magic and never after 9 PM. She would wake us up with wild licking therefore eliminating the need for any annoying alarm clock. The coolest thing about this perfect puppy would be her ability to clone herself so we will never again have to experience the sadness of another lost puppy.

We placed the packet of papers back in the envelope and put it away. By now several people were parading their brand spanking new perfect puppies around on new-fangled leashes enjoying cookies and doing their patented Perfect Puppy dances.

After a long drawn out pause I wondered, Would it be to much to ask if it could look like a Flat Coated Retriever?

Then Sarah sighed a deep deep sigh and with a resolved look of determination pulled us aside:

    I’m not supposed to tell anyone…
    then leaning over the counter she whispered,
    …but, there was a litter of newborn Golden Retriever pups dropped off this very morning. Half of them are female and all of them are black so they will have the look of a Flat Coat and be part Retriever. Sadly though the owner would not let the mama dog nurse them so they are in a foster home where they will be bottle-fed. If any females survive we will call you in four weeks to adopt her.
And we were so excited because we knew the Perfect Puppy had sent Sarah to tell us about her arrival. A Lhasa Apso watched as we filled out all of the Proper Perfect Puppy Paperwork and on the way home we said to Number_Two_Son that because everyone in our family had had a turn at naming a dog, he would get to decide on the Perfect Puppy’s name. So he declared,
    The Perfect_Puppy’s name will be Generic_Dog_Name and we will call her Jen.

Be strong Perfect Puppy, and let your spirit take courage while we keep hope in our hearts for you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
-Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

I’ve calmed down a bit since my last day log. I’m not as angry about Ryan anymore. I’m just hurt and ashamed that I got it so wrong. Everybody has been really supportive, Claire, Alicia and me had a girls evening on Wednesday, watching movies and eating ice-cream! Ryan has been blacklisted from social events by most people I know, which is kinda satisfying even if it is a bit childish. I guess in a way I’m lucky. My friend Claire went out with this guy called Andrew for 6 months before she realise that he’d been seeing other people. She was devastated when she found out, and didn’t get back to being her normal self for months. At least I didn’t actually start dating Ryan, I guess it would have hurt more if I had.

I’d also like to say thanks to everyone who messaged telling me not to give up on nice guys. That was really sweet! I know that there are some good guys out there… I’m probably just not looking hard enough (Or in the right places). I’ve never been hurt emotionally this bad before, I guess it happens all the time and in a way it’s kind of expected that you’ll get hurt in a relationship. There are a lucky few who seem to find happiness. I think there is only one couple I know who have stood the test of time and actually been together for over two years. I don’t see why people have to get hurt badly in relationships. I know sometimes it doesn’t work out (Ok, most of the time it doesn’t work out) but why should one member of the couple have to go off with someone else whilst still in the relationship? Even if the relationship isn’t working, you should at least have the respect for the other person to break up with them before dating other people. This would cause a lot less people to give up on love and many more people might actually keep the friendship with their former partner. I guess what I’m saying is why do some people, who must have been attracted to each other in the first place, feel that it is ok to hurt the other whenever they want? I guess that’s just the risk you take by entering the relationship in the first place. I know this situation is different to Ryan and me but the whole event just got me thinking.

Anyway I just wanted to day log this to try and get some thoughts out of my head (So I’m sorry If it’s a little bit all over the place). I know that people do fall in love, I’ve seen it, and what I’ve said doesn’t apply to everybody (I’m not out to offend anyone, or any gender because I know girls can be as bad as guys!).

Harry Blackmun's personal papers have now been made public, five years after his death. They sound like a virtual gold mine for historians, for Blackmon was a literary pack rat who documented everything and saved every document. Richard Nixon appointed Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court, which placed this documentarian at the center of American politics and jurisprudence.

As I drove to work this morning i listened to NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg tell an anecdote uncovered in Blackmun's papers, the 1992 case of Lee v. Weisman. The case concerned the Providence, RI school district policy of inviting local clergy to offer invocations to open and close graduation ceremonies. A family objected, arguing that a public school ceremony was, well public, and thus the seemingly innocent invocation amounted to a state endorsement of religion. The plaintiff argued the practice violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy set out to write the majority opinion in which he intended to uphold the school district's right to invite clergy to give a non-denominational prayer. But in the process of writing the opinion, he changed his mind, for he realized that he was making the plaintiff's case instead of the one he set out to defend. Shocked by the revelation, Kennedy wrote the opinion that upheld the plaintiff, which barred prayer from public school ceremonies.

Writing is the process of making our thoughts explicit. In order to write well, one must organize those thoughts, and lay bare the assumptions behind the writer's thinking. Most people never question ---or even examine--- the foundations of their beliefs. But a writer cannot afford such laziness if they seek to do work that is penetrating and significant.

It has often been said that :"the pen is mighter than the sword" and it is true, for the written word carries the power of ideas, and it is ideas that inspire us to action. Good writing can change the world. But first and foremost, writing can change the writer. In the case of Lee v. Weisman he had a case where one Supreme Court Justice sat down to write and found himself changed. In so doing, he changed the world.

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