Last night some friends of mine were talking, and I had a lot of fun with them. This morning another friend of mine tacked on a comment, so I started talking to him. I found a YouTube video he had recommended, and I'm not normally into watching lengthy documentaries so I was fidgety in the beginning. Then the subject matter started intriguing me. Since it's been nicer outside, I've gotten into the habit of taking a book outside to read. This past winter a woman I no longer respect told me I should listen to podcasts when I went on walks.

In the past I would listen to music when I walked. Then I stopped, and I've come to cherish nature's music. Song birds, the rushing wind, insects, the snap of a branch, these help ground and connect me. My mother is a gardener, my mother-in-law has beautiful gardens, recently I picked up several inexpensive house plants. Indoor air quality is important to me so I've been opening windows up, and it saddens me when others can't appreciate how this refreshes our stale indoor air. My step-daughter uses shampoo and conditioner that has such a strong scent I get a headache when I go into the bathroom after she's done showering.

I want people to be free to make their own decisions, I know she feels put out because she feels that this environment restricts her, but I also feel that I have a right to breathe clean air. I have to talk to her about it, and I'm thinking of offering to pay for her to buy products that are less strongly scented which will be better for her, better for my family, and better for our environment. Having control is very important. I don't like taking control away from people, but I'm not comfortable with the level of destruction she's brought into my bathroom.

I shouldn't fear talking to her about this. I can explain that these products aren't doing her any good. I can be calm, and I should be able to deal with whatever reaction she has. I don't confront people or stand up for myself because I have this incredible internal anxiety. I'm not sure where it comes from, but I think part of it must stem from childhood where we weren't allowed to make our own decisions, and there were brutal consequences associated with fighting for the right to make yur own choices about whatever.

To piggyback on the daylog from yesterday, I'm living with people who are choosing conscious incorrectness. I don't know how to educate and motivate these people. Living with them means compromising my quality of life in some ways. I'm frustrated by their attitudes and behaviors. I'm sure they're frustrated with me, and I want desperately to pack my things, walk out, and leave the stench of poor decision making behind, but then I have to ask myself, what if my presence is what these other people need? My children see their father and half-sister as idols and role models. I'm not perfect, and there are things I can be learing from others.

Last night's Journal Talk call was..., I don't really have the right words to explain how I felt. Learning how to journal has helped me become a better writer because I'm getting at the deeper root of some of these issues. Last time I got a lot of really positive feedback, it was electric, inspirational, and more fun than I can remember having in a long time. Last Sunday my daughter went to a birthday party. Apparently she was pretty wild, my friend told me about it later, she said that my husband said he wondered where my daughter gets that from, and my friend said that she thinks it comes from me.

After her comment she said that my husband tried to discount her idea, but then he told Jill some stories about things I used to do. Having a friend stand up for me when I wasn't there, and hearing that she was there to show my daughter that there are good qualities about her mother, that was huge to me. My husband almost never compliments me. Even when he does, it's usually accompanied by a slight or another unkind remark. He's an emotional miser, hoarding kindness, and doling out cutting remarks.

Sometimes I just want to rage at him and others like him. I want to fly at them, claw my nails into their flesh and hurt them the way that they've hurt me. I want to exract vengeance for the love they've withheld from me, and worse, my children. I'd like to take a baseball bat to stubborn heads and the people who are undermining the health of my children. I want to call them every name I can think of, run from them, and never have the putrid odor of their rotting decaying bodies clog my nostrils again.

But that isn't going to help anything. They're bigger than I am. They'd hurt me more than I could hurt them, and I really don't think that violence is the answer. Yesterday I had some problems with the kids in After School Care. Specifically they were talking when I was talking, not listening when I called, and quite a few of them had trouble keeping their hands to themselves. When we came in from outside I had them sit down, and I didn't raise my voice, but I talked to them, and I asked them questions like; 'Do you enjoy being frustrated?' and 'How do you feel when people don't listen to you?'

Instead of a craft I handed each of them a blank sheet of paper. I told them I expected apologies, and I needed to see a plan for behavior changes. Kids who can't write sentences were given the option to draw pictures. I asked them if there was anyone who didn't want to be there. I had one student raise his hand. After I offered to call his parents, he decided that he wanted to remain in the room with everyone else. I hated doing it, but it was good for me, and for them. I think they see me as kind of a pushover. I can be, and it's funny to me that people also see me as uncompromising and rigid which I also can be.

Taking the parenting class a second time has helped me. I have some CD's that I need to keep listening to, and I've decided that I'm going to expand my area of interests. Watching that clip on desertification was powerful. I realized that in the past I have been selfish, unwise, and narrow in my focus. I have a very nice yard that just sits there because I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm slowly gathering information, plants, and it will probably take a while, but my goal is to start growing my own food, and becoming more self sufficient.

I have no desire to raise entitled brats, and I've seen positive changes since I've committed to giving my children more power to make decisions, and allowing natural consequences to be their teacher instead of telling them what lessons they should be learning. There's a book I want to buy at the garden store here in town. I have a problem where I have difficulty determining the difference between purchases that enrich me, and indulgences that I later regret. I'm going to revisit that book, and talk to the people I know about resource materials they might be able to share with me since I know many people with books on plants and gardening.

I find being outside therapeutic. I like the idea of using the land I have to create peaceful, restful, tranquil places where I can go, and I'm excited to share this love with my children. I'm still mad that my husband mowed my garden over, and destroyed the raspberries I had planted years ago. Last year his aunt gave me a few plants, and as much as I'd love to get divorced, tell him to fuck off, and not have to deal with my toxic step-daughter, I'm also strong enough to rise to this challenge as it's not going away even if I no longer live here.

Quick finance update: I made the final payment on a bill I've had since 2011. I still owe my mother money. I have an outstanding bill from the hospital, but my credit card balance is now below $10,000 which made me eager to pay the rest down. Last summer I rode my bike quite a bit. I'm going to do more of that this year, and that saves me money, cuts emissions, and reduces how much I spend at the store because I can't transport as much when I'm biking. I rarely carry money so that also cuts my spending. It's pretty cold in my home today. I have some plans, and I'm going to see what I can do to get the proverbial ball rolling.

Take care,


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