Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review 2010

So what do you think of when you look back on 2010?

The year was actually rather uneventful, I think but there were a few things I think were important.

I was finally able to get back to California, the one place that as far as geography goes, will always be home.  In many ways, it felt as if I had never left.  Then of course, there was getting to see Gina and Renee and realizing that in some ways and in some relationships, time can stand still.  What I initially thought would be awkward was so incredibly natural and easy.  It had been thirty years since we had last seen each other, yet we immediately settled into easy conversation; about our past as friends and our pasts as individuals.  It was truly a moment of knowing what true friendship really is.

That trip also saw the death of my brother in law and though we were not close, it was still very sad, especially watching my sister cope with this sudden turn of events.  It reminded me that nothing in this world is certain and life is not required to be fair, so we have to treasure every single moment as we never know if there will be another one to follow.

The other big thing was the church situation. Just as you can realize that no time at all has passed with not seeing people for thirty years, you can find out that people you have been with consistently for thirty years, you really never knew at all.  Where one can bring you great joy, the latter can bring intense sadness.  The days following the whole thing were horrible.  I was unable to sleep, or would wake up trembling and tearful.  My reaction was much like I had been assaulted and that The Brit had been assaulted, with nothing more nor less than words.  My reaction to this only came because the assault came from a place of trust. If a stranger were to assault me with words on the street, my immediate reaction might be anger, but when you trust people because of the place they are affiliated with, the reaction is devastating.  

But God wanted me to move, that much had been clear.  My restlessness and feeling of not being fed by this particular pastor had to come from Someone other than myself.  Before, my inability to connect with him were offset by the praise band and the youth, but then, not even those two things were enough and my frustration grew. Now that I have moved, despite the things I had to give up, my soul is slowly becoming fulfilled.  Leaving the church was my choice, based on not only the trauma that occurred and how people elected to handle it, but because it was the final thing that let me know that church was no longer where I belonged.

So, where do I go from here?  What I have learned about myself is that I still do not handle stress well.  I still turn to food and my body reacts badly as I am now on my second cold in two months, where before all of this, I had not been sick in two years. Add to that the FoodFest that is the holidays and it is no wonder I have gained ten pounds. But starting Monday, the good habits are going back into place though it may be a struggle at first.  But I know what to do and how to do it and I not going to continue on a downward spiral.  I have come too far to turn back or give up, so it is simply back to business in a few days.

I am still job hunting though my job at the church is stable for at least six months when they re-evaluate the budget again. The church continues to struggle financially, so things are not certain there.   I have personal goals that are still unmet due to fear and I continue to work on overcoming my own self-created obstacles. But that is what life is all about; creating who we want to be, learning who we are and finding our own inner peace.

It is a lifelong process.

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sorry, Not Today!

Due to having had a very long day, no California today.  I was awake at two am this morning puking for some odd reason and with stomach cramps so bad I could not stand up straight and almost cried when lying back down in bed after the episode.  I lied really still for a bit and they finally subsided, though it took me awhile to fall back to sleep.  Then I was awake at seven and after unsuccessfully trying to fall back to sleep, I got up and came downstairs to read on my Kindle for the next few hours. 

I didn't venture breakfast of scrambled eggs with no toast until after noon, and it seemed to settle fairly well.  The Brit and I did a grocery shop this afternoon and during that venture, my period started.  Gotta tell ya, if my tossing my cookies was due to cramps, I am going to have huge issues with that!  I ate turkey on a wheat sandwich round before kickboxing and then we went to pick up my car, which had a rccall, an oil change and a free detailing.  While waiting for them to finish, I started feeling lousy again and was questioning going to kickboxing.  Had to stop by the church from hell to run off the bulletins for Sunday and started to feel better, so went to kickboxing.  I got a little thrill there as my GBC called me by name, twice!  Aren't I a freak?  Granted, I have been taking his class for a year and a half but he has lots of people in his class, but we recently become Facebook friends, so now he has me down!  He asked how "Miss Kim" was and then when I left class and was putting my stuff in my car, he called out "Bye Kim!"  He's so cute and so gay but I love him.

Maybe California tomorrow but it's my blog and I'm not making promises.  Never know what I may feel like writing about and if people were on Facebook, they would have seen lots of pictures already as they are all there.

And did I tell ya'll that I am really enjoying the football?  Love watching the Ravens and the Chargers, though the latter is now out of the running for the season.

I am so anxious to get back to the gym regularly!  Since the crap started in October, then vacation, then the holidays, I have gained ten pounds and it has to go!  I have been really good today, partially due to my sensitive stomach, which could be having issues due to the crap I have been feeding it.  I plan to keep it going as I am really tired of eating bad stuff!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hooray! It's Over!

Okay, by a show of hands, who here thinks Jimnotmike should have his own blog?

Survived Christmas!  Yay!  I hate this holiday.  Christmas Eve was very pretty at St. John's, though it was odd not to be with the people I have been with most of my life on Christmas Eve.  But, they have a great choir, a bell choir and they had other musicians as well.  The sanctuary, which is incredibly beautiful (our contemporary service on Sundays is held in the Worship Center), was decorated in poinsettias, wreaths and white lights...breathtaking.  The sermon was excellent and the whole thing was just barely over an hour...about seven minutes over. 

The kids loved their cell phones and were very surprised.  The Genius showed evidence of growing up when he wanted me to open my gift first before he opened any of his.  I got my Kindle and love it!  The Brit loved his Redskins jersey and the Blue tooth keyboard for his iPad.  Mother came for dinner and Robyn came over later once the kids were gone for the night.

Sunday night, I had my youth kids from the old church over and it was awesome.  So good to see them and to feel as if no time had passed since I'd last seen them.  They will all be going different ways in the Fall, and that makes not being in the same church with them more bearable.  They still love me and we had a great time together.

Today, The Brit and I had lunch with Jimnotmike (who needs his own blog), MyTod and Kelly.  I had not seen Kelly in awhile and I always love catching up with her.  Tonight, Emily, Katie and I went to see "Black Swan"; quite a trip, not at all what I expected and very thought provoking. 

Listing all of this, I realize how fortunate I am; I have many good friends and many of them not associated with my former church.  I know many people who are not so fortunate.  They are all truly a blessing.

Now, for a quick side story that Strat will enjoy and I would like to hear her take on it.  Yesterday afternoon, I was at the grocery store to pick up a few things I needed for the youth gathering.  There were no small carts, and I could not be bothered to get a big cart, so my arms were laden down with a gallon of distilled water, two bags of chips and two containers of dip, and I still needed a sleeve of plastic cups.  Finding the cups, which were sort of blocked in by a stocking cart, I wedged myself in there, knocking something off the shelf in the process.  Grabbing the cups with two fingers, I heard a voice behind me...

"Well, hello! How are you?"

It was the Puppet Master's wife; one of the two people who started this whole mess.  I didn't even want to make eye contact and didn't have to at that moment as she stooped to pick up what I had knocked off the shelf, "Fine, thanks."

"How was your Christmas?"

"It was good, thank you." At this point, I am backing out from between the shelf and the stocking cart.  I am floored how this woman will not come into my office on "Bible" study day, but here she is approaching me in a store, when she could have just sneaked by; I wouldn't have even seen her as I heard her talking to me before I ever saw her.

Before I could escape, she said, "I know your arms are full, but let me hug you."

AND SHE DID. I'm sorry, but what is that all about?  Is she just trying to make herself look like a better person, or is it guilt related?  I am clueless. Would she have treated me differently had her Puppet Master husband had been with her?

Okay, tomorrow, I will start relating the California trip!  What was your favorite moment of Christmas?  Favorite gift?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why Are People So Offended?

So I was sitting at the American Red Cross this morning, waiting to give blood and they had the news on the television which is always enough to annoy me.  You would think on Christmas Eve, they could find something good to talk about but nah.  They were debating about this monument in Georgia, I think, where there were several different flags erected, one of the many flags being a Christian flag.  Of course, someone had to gripe about it so now they have some kind of lottery where people can decide what flag they want flown that month and now the question is, is that constitutional? 

Here are my issues.  I don't get why people get so offended.   I have friends who are Wiccan and if the Wicca people had a flag and it was flown at a monument along with a bunch of other flags, that would not offend me.  Now if the Wiccan flag was the ONLY flag being flown, that would be different.  The one woman on the news was saying that some of the soldiers who died for their country may not be Christian.  My thinking is "they are dead, do they really care what flags are flown there?" The other thing is that if my loved one was being remembered in that place, and let's say, we were Muslim, I would have no issue with another religion being represented.  I figure any "good thoughts" or prayers offered from anywhere are a good thing.  When I in a rough spot and my Wiccan friends say they will pray for me, it does not offend me that they are not praying to my beliefs.  Belief in a higher power is belief, no matter what you call that Being.  

My biggest issue is that it is Christmas Eve so is this a pot that really needed to be stirred up today?  Oy. Doesn't this country have bigger issues to deal with?

Anyway, it is Christmas Eve and no matter how much I am not a fan of Christmas, tonight I love.  Tonight is filled with anticipation for me, and candles and a feeling of reverence as we sit on the precipice of something wonderful.  I love tonight.  Tomorrow, you can have but tonight is special. 

So I hope you all feel that sense of anticipation tonight; that knowing that many years ago, probably not in December, something wonderful happened.  I hope you all took a moment to do something special for someone else that maybe didn't involve a gift in a box.  I hope you gave some love or a little of your time to someone who needed it and if you haven't, there is still time.  Because for as what I believe, we were given the greatest gift ever that we celebrate this night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Even My Fingers Hurt

So after a very full day today (work, groceries, cleaning and mopping, cookie baking) MyTod and I went and endured a two hour kickboxing marathon.  We did it, though Tod told me numerous times how much he hated me, but now I am so freaking tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

I'm going to try to post the California adventure next week once I have Christmas out of the way.  I still have baked goods to make as gifts and fudge to gift as well.   I have never made fudge so it should be interesting.

Anyone in my reading area, there is a need for a family.  Two gals The Brit works with have friend whose family just lost virtually everything in a fire.  It was in today's paper.  We are trying to locate the following items (cut and pasted from the original email):

We are looking for clothes and household items.. as far as I know they lost everything.

Here are the sizes-

The Mother is a size 2-4

Boys are between sizes 4-5 T and one older boy who is 16-17 and all I know is he is a medium size

Girls are 8-10 and 10- 12


If anyone has anything, let me know.  I can make arrangements to pick it up from you.  Those of you who know me well know it is this kind of stuff that brings the meaning of Christmas home to me.  It isn't about the gifts, or the tree or the cookies.  It's about humanity and helping each other.  So check your cupboards; everything is needed.  If you don't have the clothing sizes, there are blankets, towels, kitchen necessities, bedding...you get the picture.  Trust me, it will make you feel good.

So I requested our families transfer to the new church and the old pastor and I had a long conversation about it.  He apparently told The Puppet Master that he handled things in the wrong manner; that he should have come to me with his concern and if it could not be resolved between us, then he and the pastor should talk to me.  Basic Biblical principles.  I emailed The Puppet Master's wife about something she had ordered for the church and at the end of the email I wished she and The Puppet Master a merry Christmas.  She emailed me back her response, wished us a merry Christmas and signed it "In Christian Love".  For some reason that really pissed me off but whatever.  Can't be bothered to care very much.

Okay, tired and going to bed soon! 




 

 

Monday, December 20, 2010

20 Long Years Ago

So listen...I went Christmas shopping tonight with MyTod and due to the fact that it is almost 11:00 and I am dog tired, I am taking advantage of one of a few guest blog posts Jimnotmike gave to me for such occasions.  He loves comments!  I will be back with you tomorrow.  Promise!

Hello everyone. I'm back again! So lets take a detour from my travels for this post.

What I want to talk about happened 2 nights ago...I cried, HARD! Uncontrollably hard!!!  And here is why...




That photograph. That is me, JimNotMike, 20 years ago. I have no qualms posting it here because no one who doesn't know me would ever recognize me from that photo. I'm not even sure I recognized me from that photo. That was pretty much what the tears were about.

That young, hot, swarthy, tanned, "innocent", STUD is gone, and OMG...so is the hair! I can remember the exact day that photo was taken. I had just been cast as Marcellus Washburn in the Fredericktowne Players production of The Music Man and we were having a dance rehearsal for MY song "The Shipoopi" when I was called outside to take a head-shot for the theatre and program.  I remember thinking, "You're kidding? I look like crap!"

But look at that photo, I don't look like crap. I am full of youthful exuberance and excitement at being cast, in a major role, in the first community theatre show I ever auditioned for. That summer was amazing. Full of discovery...talent I didn't think I had, people I never thought I would meet, loves I never thought I would love, that ended far too quickly (OMG, that is a whole other blog post).

I wonder where he went. Well, I know where the hair went. But seriously, seeing this picture made me wonder why we have to change? Don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in the fact that change can be good, and usually is. I certainly don't regret who I have become, but I miss that guy. I miss his innocence, his ability, and HIS HAIR! Not to mention those gorgeous lips. 

I think it's ok to miss things, therapeutic in fact. At least that is what I have learned in the past few days. Once I pulled myself together after my minor breakdown I realized that aside from the hair...that is me today, a part huge part of me. I even compared in the mirror to make sure. Those lips are still there, those eyes, that skin tone (even after 20 years of smoking...done now). That youthful exuberance too, when I discover a new city or meet a new person or learn something I didn't think I had the capacity to learn. He is me, and I am him...he just didn't know it yet.

So I am offering a challenge to the folks who read this blog. I would like you to send (jimtravelin@verizon.net) me a picture of yourself from 20 years ago, or 30 years, or however far back you have to go that you don't recognize yourself. Along with that picture, I want you tell me what it is you miss and what parts of yourself you still see lurking in that old photo of you. I think you will be as surprised as I was to find how much of your "young" self is still present in your "older" self. I know I was. Don't be fooled tho, those pictures are bound to make it into a future guest blog of mine. So don't send anything you wouldn't want appearing to Kim's readers. 

Younger JimNotMike would probably be heading out on the town about now or at the very least staying up watching some horrible movie on the TV. But Older JimNotMike is mixing himself a nightcap and heading off to bed. I bet there is a part of Younger JimNotMike who wishes he had done the same.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five more Work Days

Jimnotmike had a blog post for me tonight but tonight I feel like blogging, so I will keep his posts for those days when it is just not in me.  I can't abandon my readers too often after all!

I stripped a part of my kitchen floor today with ammonia and though it stunk and took a 3/4 of a gallon to accomplish it, the difference is astounding.  It took a long time too.  Pour on ammonia, swish it around, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before going over it with a mop.  Often it was repeat on the same section a few times too.  I ran out of ammonia and my mop fell apart by the time I was finished that section but what a difference.  I am hoping Lowes may sell something a bit easier and not as stinky as I am now on a quest.

I picked up a few Christmas cards that were addressed to my family at the church and would you believe the Evil VP and her big headed son gave us a card?  She can't talk to me but the true spirit of Satan Christmas is something she wants to pretend to have alive and well or she just wants to make herself look good.  For those of you not in the know, the fact that her son has a big head, literally, is not his fault and I would generally not make such horrible comments.  He is in his late thirties and does have an abnormally large cranium, but my big problem with him is how self righteous he is.  That's what's annoying.  He has made one too many holier than thou comments to me or near me in the past.

 So I still need to come up with some gifts for my younger child.  My oldest will have his cell phone, a pair of skinny jeans, a Wii game and an ipod microphone.  Is that enough?  My youngest will have his cell phone and so far a Razor scooter. Price-wise, The Genius is slightly ahead so the remaining gifts for The Lawyer need not cost a lot of money. But I like them to open close to the same amount of presents on Christmas day, especially as I am holding the phones till last.  But what else to get him?  Suggestions?

The weekend is going to be full of baking and candy making I think.  Such a busy time of year.  Saturday night is My Tod's Christmas party and Sunday it is back to church and I have missed it!

No gym today due to snow and I was afraid the kids might get out of school early.  They didn't but  I didn't know that at the time, so I went to the store to pick up a few odds and ends, stopped by to see Tod and then came home and worked on the floor and laundry.  Tomorrow, The Genius has therapy which I find annoying because it ties up so much time in my day this time of year.  I can't always tell if it is helping or not either and the therapist is not all that organized.  He has no appointment cards, we have shown up for an appointment before and he wasn't there, etc.  I may see if we can move him to another day other than Friday.  Hate tying up a Friday with that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jim, Wanna Guest Blog Right Now?

I am insanely sleepy after a very full day today.  Work, gym, post office, Big Lots, clean, clean, clean, cook dinner, clean up dinner, pack lunches.  I didn't even get to sit down till after 9:00 tonight.  Oh, and I did some on-line Christmas shopping.  A few more things done; more to go.  Need to bake this weekend too and come up with some kind of tasty treat to give as gifts to a few people.  Not sure we will have time for candy making, so I need another alternative.  Suggestions?

Also, what is the best way to strip wax from a linoleum floor?  I am going to try ammonia per Tod but am already looking for a backup plan.

The Brit gets home tomorrow night and hopefully in a decent mood.  I know traveling is tiring but at least he is home the next few weeks.

Okay, short but again, am really tired!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still Trying to get Back on Track

So apparently in my absence, the sermons in my former church have gotten a bit better.  In fact, his theme has been forgiveness and last Sunday he apparently stated that the devil was alive and well in this church (and I would name him The Puppet Master, but that's just me).  Not sure what all was said, but a lady I dearly love approached me yesterday and hugged me and said she'd had no idea what was going on (and no one did but those involved).  She begged me to come back but I don't see that in the cards for me.  But though his sermons have had a theme to promote healing, not one of the Bible study peeps came back to say "hi" today, so not much has really changed.

I am sitting here watching "The Biggest Loser Finale" and they are showing some previews of the next season in three weeks.  They have a man next season whose starting weight is 507 pounds.  It brought tears to my eyes just to see him.  And I know, that all he needs is a little determination and a will to change to make it happen.  Cannot wait to see his transformation.  I know it is dubbed "reality tv" but the show does change lives and it gives at home viewers proof that it can be done. We have so much technology but the formula for weight loss is still very much the same: calories in vs calories out and creating a calorie deficit.  Exercise is really such an easy thing in many ways.  Sure the process is hard, but why would you not do something that benefits every part of your life?  You only have one life here; one chance to get it right.

So my Christmas cards are finally done and ready to be mailed out.  Hope the ones make it to England in time.  We can hope.  The kid's big gift came today....cell phones, Lord help me.  There will be rules.  Big rules.  Huge.  Yes, I am nervous about it, but excited for them too as they will be thrilled.  I am making sure these are last gifts they open and that they are opened at the same time.

I need to get Christmas dinner planned too.  Not sure what we are having yet. 

And don't forget that next Tuesday is the two hour kickboxing session! Come out and suffer play with me!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Again

So I plan to blog all about my latest journey but right now, I am behind on life and Christmas in particular, so I have not yet even gone through the photos.  So stay tuned for that.

We just got home last night and The Brit is already en route to the airport for work, and will be gone until Thursday.  This will hopefully give me some time to get my life caught up a bit as well as get to some serious work at the gym.  I have gained a few pounds over the last few weeks between work stress and vacation and it has got to go.

On the flight to California, I was listening to my ipod and was reminded of something I had wanted to blog about during all the church drama.  When I was at my absolute lowest about the situation (and I am so much better now.  Stronger, leaving the drama queens behind me) I heard a song that has been out for quite some time that I had never taken any notice of before.  It may have played on my radio before, but I promise you, I had never actually heard the lyrics before.  What I do know was that God gave me this song on that particular day.  I get goosebumps now when I hear it on my ipod.

Lord move, or move me

I can't find the words to pray
I'm a little down today
Can you help me?
Can you hold me?
I feel like a million miles away
And I don't know what to say
Can you hear me anyway?
What I need is for you to reach out your hand
You have taught me
No matter what you'd understand

CHORUS:

Lord move in a way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move), or move me.  (and He moved me, pretty much physically)

I've look every where to find
A simple peace of mind
I can't find nothing on my own
So I got to leave myself behind
Take up this cross of mine
Give away everything I hold onto (and in so many ways, I did.  I had to let go of things and people that felt impossible to ever release)

Lord I know the only way is through this
Lord I know I need you to help me do this

CHORUS

Lord move in a way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move), or move me.

Out of this place of complacency  (*this is so true of the way I had been feeling at the church before it all went bad)To a place of fellowship with thee
Cause I am weak but Lord you are so strong
And you know it's been way too long (been way too long)

Lord move in the way, that I've never seen before
Cause there's a mountain in the way and I'll knock on the door
I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore
So Lord move (move)...

CHORUS

Isn't it just amazing?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Start Spreading the News Part 2

Here is your second post by guest blogger, Jimnotmike.  Leave him comments; he lives for them!

ETA: For some reason this did not post last week, so I am posting it now.

Welcome back! I'm kind of enjoying writing these Travelog Blog Posts. It's so nice to not have an "Issue" to deal with or something to bitch about. Anyway...it is now Sunday in New York City.


Michael Buble--
We aren't sure how it happened, but somehow Siobhan and I both managed to miss the fact that Michael Buble, one of our favorite singers was performing at Madison Square Garden while we were in town. Thankfully we caught this error in time to get tickets. It was the 100th performance of his Crazy Love tour and it was amazing. If you haven't seen Michael live, I highly recommend it. At the end of the concert he put down his microphone, took off his ear piece, they closed the curtain on the band he sang acapella. Unaided, his voice filled MSG and it was perhaps the most amazing thing I have ever seen a live performer attempt. The man truly has a set of pipes!

Pretty great seats for a sold out event!



Showtune Monday at Splash--
This evening I met one of Kevin's New York Friends, Dan for drinks at Splash. Splash is a very popular gay bar in Chelsea. On Monday's the place is filled with every gay theatre queen in the city to sing along to every broadway showtune you can possibly imagine exists. It's great fun, and we try to do it every year when I'm in town. The drinks are also 2 for 1, and that never hurts. What sucks is that had I been in town for just a few more days I could have seen Kristen Chenowith perform here on Saturday night...that would have been over-the-top amazing!



Didn't have a pic from Splash, so here is Times
Square at night from my hotel room

That was the New York Trip, I may not enjoy the city, but I have to admit there are some fun things to do there. It's good to be home now for the Holiday's. Time to decorate and eat, and lets not forget the cocktails!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Start Spreading the News Part 1 by Jimnotmike

Ok, New York! I just spent 10 days there. I was there for work, so I don't have too much to report, but I will take you through the highlights. Prepare to live vicariously though me. LOL

For the past 4 years my work has taken me to New York City over the Thanksgiving Holiday. As much as I don't enjoy NYC, it's kind of nice to not have to worry about the typical family-type trappings that so often seem to go along with this, or any Holiday for that matter. I don't have to fight over whose family to spend it with, how to squeeze in both families, or even what to cook.

So, here was my Thanksgiving Weekend...

Turkey Day--

I typically don't leave the comfort of my hotel room on Thursday. The hotel sits right on Times Square, so it is a madhouse of families with small children trying to view the Macy's Parade. I had a fine view of it from my hotel room window, and an even better view of it on television.



There goes Buzz Lightyear down Broadway!

I did eventually rip myself from the room around 2pm to walk over to Jamba Juice and get my Thanksgiving Smoothie (A Berry-Lime Sublime with an Energy and Fiber Boost) YUMMMMM in a cup! It's even better once you add a few shots of rum to it. At 6pm, I met my coworker, Siobhan for dinner. We always try to pick somewhere out of the way. The past couple of years, that meant the rotating lounge at the top of our hotel. They do a very stylish Thanksgiving buffet and because it rotates, you basically just sit still and sip your cocktail till the food you want comes around. This year we decided to do Japanese...the only restaurants that don't have huge waits for seating on this Holiday. There was a great place right down the street, and while I'm no fan of sushi, there was plenty on the menu to please me. After sharing 5 bottles of Sake, it really didn't matter what I was eating anyway. After dinner Siobhan continued to bar-hop, the woman is a drinking machine! I went back to the hotel. Sure enough about 10pm I start getting text message from Siobhan, insisting I join her at Don't Tell Mamma's. This is a great little bar, also right down the street. What makes it special is that people sing live there. Most of them are actual talented people who have or will be performing on broadway at some time or another. Of course, sometimes it's also some drunk schmoe off the street. Tonight was a pretty good night, but we didn't stay out too late because we both had to work the next morning.


The Carnegie Club--
Saturday night, both Siobhan and I took naps after work so we could stay up late. We met friends of hers at the Carnegie Club, which is right across the street from Carnegie Hall. It's an old Cigar Bar that has been in this location forever. Luckily I hadn't quit smoking at that point so I could take full advantage of it. In a time when it seems like you can't smoke anywhere, it was really nice to sit down on a comfy sofa, cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I almost felt like I was sitting in my living room. We were there for their Sinatra Saturday event which is a tribute to late, great singer complete with a 12 piece big band orchestra. The singer was great, and while he claimed it was a tribute show, not an impersonation of Sinatra, I sure thought he sounded just like him.



Yes, my sanctuary is larger than The Carnegie Club


Ok, this is going longer than I intended. Tune in later for Part 2

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Cig-Free/God-Free/Bitch-Free Post

Hello Everyone,

With Kim running off to California you are once again stuck with me...and I with you :-)

I have a lot talk about lately so maybe this will be broken into two posts, or 3 if anyone can stand it. 

First of all, lets talk about cigarettes, a product of which, I am no longer a purveyor. Yes, you heard it here first. JimNotMike is Cigarette/Smoke Free and I have been for a few days (perhaps a week, till this gets posted). My hubby Kevin is also now Cig/Smoke Free and by the time you read this for him it will probably be 2 weeks.

Just so we're clear. This had nothing to do with health(cause as long as I look good, it doesn't matter to me), or wellness(we all gotta die sometime) or stinky clothes(that is what cologne and laundry are for). This had to do with money, pure and simple. I sat down a few months ago and figured out that between the 2 of us, Kevin and I were spending $300 a month to stick flaming cancer sticks, coffin nails, fags (if you're in Britain) into our mouths one after the other. $300 a month! Hell, that's a car payment or a nice addition to the vacation fund. Heck, that'll buy a ton of booze! Yeah, don't expect the liquid libations to be going away anytime soon.

Kevin did it cold turkey(while I wasn't around, bless his ever-lovin heart). I, on the other hand, being the heavier smoker and the far more maniacal of the 2 of us decided I needed some help. I had tried the patch, and the pill, and the other pill, and the pill after that, and the gum, and even the hypnosis in the past. I knew that none of that worked for me. So I did a little research, on the web, of course. Google, I LOVE YOU!

Turns out, the nicotine in cigarettes isn't really whats bad for you(in unconcentrated doses less than 60mg, anyway). It's the 599 other things (Wiki Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_additives_in_cigarettes) that they add to cigarettes that will kill you. Not to mention the fact that you're basically willfully submitting yourself to smoke inhalation every time you light one up. So, years ago when I was getting pissed off that I wasn't being allowed to smoke anywhere (airplanes, restaurants, bars, strip clubs, my office) I found a product called Njoy(http://www.njoy.com/). It's an electronic cigarette that basically provides you with a little bit of nicotine and the feeling like you're smoking, but you aren't really smoking per say. They say very clearly on their website that it is not marketed as a smoking cessation device, but I think its a great idea, even if the FDA doesn't. Njoy offers a way for you to stop smoking (the bad part) with out killing those around you (the good part) and right now, let me just say that my Body Count stands at zero. The greatest part is that once you're over the idea that a burning torch isn't stuck between your index and middle finger, Njoy has cartridges that have no nicotine in them. So you can switch to those and still feel like you are smoking while your body gets off of the nicotine habit. It's a win/win for everyone. Not to mention the fact that you can "light them up" in restaurants, train cars, airplanes, offices, strip clubs, etc.

In the meantime, the cartridges cost less than cigarettes and since the only byproduct is water vapor, my house, my car and I don't smell like we spent the night inside a burning building.

So, as it stands right now. I have quit smoking without quitting my addiction to nicotine, and I am ok with that. I'll work on the nicotine part later. Oh, and for anyone who is interested...it looks like the 7-Eleven chain of stores is carrying the Njoy product everywhere. I'm not getting paid to endorse that...but I sure wish I was!

Friday, December 3, 2010

This is it for awhile maybe

Okay, so today, I have to drop by both the kid's schools with emergency contact information for while we are away, call the alarm company and then get ready to head up the road two hours for the show.  I said good-bye to my kids this morning as I will be gone by the time they get home and The Brit will have to see them off to grandma's house. 

The pastor came in today to wish me a nice trip and during the conversation I mentioned that my mother was keeping the kids while we were away.  He said and I kid you not "I have to call her.  I don't know where she's been."  Really?  That clueless?  The church attempted to stone her daughter and he wonders where she has been.  Wanna place bets that the call to her never happens?

So tomorrow I am off for the west coast and I am insanely excited.  I am looking forward to exploring a new city I have never been to before, the weather will be a bit warmer than here (sixties all week) and it is time away from what has become a stressful part of my life; the church.  I'm looking forward to seeing Margaret, Doug and JJ (my sis in law, brother and nephew) and hopefully Ed (my great nephew).  I am again having dinner with my girls from elementary school on the 11th, which will be our last night there.

I just love to travel and wish I had the time and money to do it more often.  I just look at each trip as an adventure and I have always had an adventurous spirit anyway.  I love experiencing new things and have always thought that was part of what life was about anyway.  Experiences help us to grow in so many ways and I never want to be one of those people who are content with things to just always be the way they were.  Though I have never embraced flying, or rather, the possibility of crashing,  it is a way to get from point A to point B and sometimes the only way to get there.  If the alternative is not seeing new places, I will fly, like it or not.

Well, I am babbling now and impatient to get the day underway.  I do have at least one guest post from Jimnotmike to go up and I may try to blog on occasion next week.  Thank you all for following me here to this little private spot, which will one day go public again.  Hope you all get your shopping done next week (I haven't started yet which is kind of scary) and you stay warm if you are in one of the colder regions. 
Have a great week!

Oh and just for shits and grins, Jimnotmike, I am really looking forward to the tourist trap of Fisherman's Wharf and have no desire to see an old prison. ;)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Four More Quiet Hours

I say quiet because the world was in today to learn to make bows and no one spoke to me.  I actually welcome the Church Lady on Thursdays as she is oblivious to the whole ordeal and speaks.  Not that I really care except right now, The Brit is out of town so the kids have been my main source of conversation.  Whoo Hoo.

I like the haircut which puts me in a bit of a pickle as I am riddled with guilt.  I like my normal hair girl.  I like this new hair girl.  But I have been with Kristi for years.  I kind of feel like my ex-church, turning on her for no good reason.  Not sure I can continue with it.  I may have to go back and just tell her I got it cut in California.

I was PMSing as I started this morning and I am so freaking tired right now but my farm in Farmville is not ready to harvest till eleven.  My body is aching from my workout yesterday and I want it to be bedtime.

So tonight, I went into the kitchen to fix a cup of diet hot cocoa while the kids were messing with the electric train under the Christmas tree.  I heated up the milk in the microwave, mixed up the packet of chocolate in it and then got inspired.  Walking into the room where the kids were, I muttered aloud "If I had butterscotch schnapps that would be awesome."  The kids busted up laughing and The Genius said "Nice mom."  Turns out, they thought I said, "If you would get shocked, that would be awesome."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not as Behind as I thought.

It has been a fly by the seat of my pants kinda week.  I had a schedule and despite the fact that I have not stuck to it, I am not that far behind.  When The Brit is away, I don't sleep as well; it takes me longer to fall asleep and I awaken far earlier than is normal for me.  Also judging by the circles under my eyes, I am PMSing, so I am sleep deprived and lacking in energy at the moment.  Yet I remain more or less on schedule even if I have indvertantly rearranged it.

I worked out with Sonia today and this one is brutal.  The last one now feels like cake, but I guess that is the point, huh?  Got home and finished decorating, then took The Genius and went to church as I am going to miss the next two Sundays.  Oddly enough, I had just gotten to the Y today and was warming up on the treadmill and saw this guy waving to me as he was leaving.  I was confused for a moment before I realized it was my new pastor.

Tomorrow, I cheat on my hair girl and then I am supposed to go run with Bebecca, who is a beginner runner....and it is freakin' cold outside!  I also need to call our alarm company to see if they can walk me through an adjustment again because the heat is setting off the system and we got a notice from the police again that we have used up our two "get out of jail free" cards and the next time the police are sent out, it will cost us $30.  We adjusted the kitchen one last year in the winter as the heat can set it off but it is happening again. 

Friday I am riding up to Kirk's college to see his roomie's senior project which is a series of plays he has written.  I am going with the music director and her hubby and I am wondering if the question of "are you ever coming back to church?" is going to come up.  I would imagine it will be hard to explain but I have been thinking about it.

When we left, I did not yet have in my mind the mentality of "I am never coming back."  But I also didn't expect to walk into a church I am growing to really enjoy.  I think in different stages of our lives, we feel different ways about God.  As teens or young adults, often we keep God at arm's length.  We want to know He is there but we want to do our own thing and not think about it too much.  As we get a little older, we need to be involved and we want to set the right example for our kids where God is concerned.  So we are there out of a sense of obligation.  Then we get a little older and we realize that at times life is hard and we need to rely on Someone more than just ourselves and we want to know as much about that Someone as we can.  I was there.  I was craving more knowledge; I wanted to be able to understand and know the words that could help me handle some of the things life was throwing at me.  I wanted to discuss these things with other people who were craving the same things.  I wanted to be led by someone who had been Called to serve.  The problem was that the pastor where I was, though Called, was not, in my opinion, leading anyone.

When the split happened five years ago, I was still in that obligation place.  Then we got Pastor Phil and he made me sit up and listen.  I started actively pursuing my faith.  A void I had not even realized I'd had started to be filled.  A year later, he was gone and we had the next one, who was so overly dramatic and a bit of a jerk in person.  He was nasty to me on a regular basis and by the time Sunday rolled around, I could barely look at him yet alone try to get anything out of his sermons and I NEVER would have even considered talking to him one on one.  Four months later, the problem was discovered; he was having an affair and had been caught and he was gone.  Our next interim, though a horrible sermon giver, was amazing one on one, so again, I started to get some of what my soul craved.   Most of the congregation didn't like her due to her lack of decent sermons but the employees loved her due to that one on one time during the week.  When she left, we got the current one and you know how that story goes.  With this one, I started to lose faith that there were "real" pastors out there other than retired ones. 

So when this all went down at church and I left "temporarily" God had something else in mind.  He had been nudging me for awhile and I been ignoring but He knew what I needed and led me to it but putting a few people in front of me to guide the way. 

But will this make sense to those I left behind?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hooray for Unevenful Tuesday!

All was quiet in the Lutheran Study room today.  They are either crushed by the loss of the Evil VP on council or plotting their next move.  Either way none of them stopped in to say hi.

I am just so glad that the VP lost the election without our help.  We would have been within our right to go in there are vote.  We are members.  But it only would have made people angry, at least those six people.  But she lost without us and maybe that sent her a message.  See, she used to be a nice person.  But after she quit/got fired from her job, she got so involved and started trying to run everything and with that comes stepping on some toes.  Plus her behavior with me, which people know about, has not been good PR for her.  The VP of the church council should not be bad mouthing anyone in the church.

Anyway, I'm getting over it.  Find me another job and I will get totally over it.

So, December 21st from 6-8 we are having a major kickboxing session, open to ANYONE for the cost of a hat, pair of gloves or socks.  Seriously.  The Y is starting to do these sessions to raise items for different charities.  They did the first one last week with a two hour Zumba and approx 300 people were there.  Our goal is to beat that numberm so I am asking any of you within my area to mark the 21st on your calendars.  It's a great cause and a fun workout and if I can do it (and I am a little worried about a two hour session myself as you can mop the floor with me after an hour of Michael!) anyone can do it!

Tomorrow is hump day.  Cannot wait till Saturday and "Blast off" as JJ always called it!  California bound baby!

Monday, November 29, 2010

For Four Days, the Chair is Mine

So The Brit is off again, which means I own the chair till Friday. It's a payoff for single parenting for four days.

Not much to say tonight and it's late.  Tomorrow is the dreaded Tuesday.  My trainer rescheduled my appointment today to Wednesday, "Burlesque" was excellent and Tod helped me take the defective tree back.  Probably not staying the night at EMU Friday for Brent's show due to a sudden change of venue.  Still going to see his show but probably coming home that night. 

I am PMSing something fierce but I hope it arrives this week instead of next.  Still unsure of what I am going to do the Monday in San Fran, but I am thinking Fisherman's Wharf and some walking sightseeing.  The hills will be good exercise for me.

Okay, I will do better tomorrow night!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Sunday Offering


Okay, as I haven't blogged in days, you get a special Sunday edition with updates..aka, bullet point updates.

  • Wound up with a full blown cold from hell.  Have not been sick in two years but I am attributing this one to the church stress.  Snot and much coughing.  It has been big fun.
  • I still ran the Turkey Trot with the cold and beat my Project 320 time by almost 4 minutes, which rocks.  Tod came in at under thirty minutes for his first 5K and won the damn runner's basket...but I am getting over that....slowly.  Anyway, 800+ people ran this thing.  It was cold and had been raining but thankfully the rain held off for the run.  I'm thinking I could do really well if I actually trained for the next one and I will take running in the cold over running in the humidity any day.
  • My twenty year old youth kid beat out the Evil VP for council today.  I am over the moon and I am sure she is one twisted sister.
  • Due to her losing, I am really dreading the Bible study Tuesday.
  • Tomorrow, I am meeting with Sonia for training and then meeting with Tod to go see "Burlesque".  Very excited.
  • The Brit is leaving for Atlanta tomorrow night and I will not see him till either Friday night or Saturday when we leave for CALIFORNIA!
  • The Lawyer turned 11 yesterday and we took him and his little friend from school out for hibatchi.  Robyn, Emily and Tod went along too and a good time was had by all.
  • Thursday, I am cheating on my hair girl officially.  I have an appointment with the new girl and we'll see how it goes.
  • We finally got an artificial tree, pre-lit and everything.  I am very happy.  No more needles or forgetting to water the thing.
  • I have started making lists for the week.  Grocery list, To Do list and Packing list.  Nothing like travel in the busiest season of the year, but given how much I dislike what Christmas has become, I can't wait to go away for a week.
  • There is a potential job at an elementary school I  have applied for and I have three people in the education system putting in a good word for me.  Say prayers or think happy thoughts.
  • Dear Lord, get me through this week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



Busy day today...insane morning tomorrow with a 5K I am not ready for.  I do have a cold but TheraFlu is keeping it under control for the most part and I don't feel too badly.  We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Tod and I went to the Health and Fitness Expo at that college today to pick up our race packets.  The expo was a little lame, but I did find a new hair stylist to try.  I love my current stylist but she had some problems taming my hair which is very thick, and though I keep telling her to not worry about how short she goes, two weeks after a cut I am hacking at odd pieces with scissors.  So there was this newer hair place that was at the expo and she tamed my sticky uppy piece of hair in the back, so I am going to make an appt and give her a shot.  She was telling me how she would do my hair a little differently.  I feel like I am cheating on my girl though!

Okay, so in honor of Thanksgiving, here is what I am most thankful for.

1. My God, who is forever faithful to me and only judges with love and mercy and not condemnation.

2. My family.  Even when they are annoying, I still love them.  I am especially thankful for my sister in law, Margaret, who has guided me through these last few weeks with prayer and scripture.

3. My friends; the amazing ones.  The ones who are not fair weathered but the real deal.  You have been available to talk, to help move my blog, whatever was needed.  I appreciate you more than you know.

4. My health.  Though my diet has not been up to my normal standards the last few weeks with my stress eating, I am still doing a 5K tomorrow.  Who would have thought?

5. I am also thankful for St. John 's Lutheran Church for restoring my faith that worship truly can be a place to learn and grow and that there really are pastors still out there that know how to pastor their flock.  We are still in the early stages with this church, but so far it feels like it could be home.

For my readers, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving tomorrow.  And for any of you going out on Black Friday...well, I have no sympathy.  You are obviously insane!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thera-Flu and Orange Juice

I either am coming down with a cold or have one helluva sinus thing going on.  I have not been sick in two years and now with a Turkey Trot just two days away, here I am feeling kind of lousy.  Hopefully by morning, it will be better.

I survived another Tuesday Bible study day.  Really, it is no big deal; they just ignore me.
People who used to come back and say hi, no longer bother.  The sting is lesser, but still present at times but life does go on.


I did go to kickboxing tonight but given the fact that I wasn't feeling great, it was a rough hour, but again, I survived it.

So, do I attempt another run tomorrow, the day before the Turkey Trot?  Or do I take the day off?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gotta Love a Short Week

So Saturday, we had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at our friend's cabin with them, an older couple we love, and the music director and most of her family.  I told you that her husband lost his job a week ago so a week ago Sunday at church, he tells Pastor Extraordinaire (PE) that he needs to speak with him.  He waits while PE chats with someone for about ten minutes, then pulls this man into the office.  Husband tells him he lost his job last week.  PE says "That's too bad.  The economy is tough."

That was the end of his pastoral counselling.  No words of reassurance that God had a plan.  No "Can I pray with you?"  Basically, too bad, so sad.  PE told me three weeks ago after The Brit quit council that he was going to call him.  Still waiting on that call.

Yesterday at our former church, PE's wife prayed for us.  Then the Evil VP prayed for "the Blind." I assume that is also us.

Now, this past Sunday, we walked into the new church we have been attending and the pastor greeted The Brit, my mother and I ALL BY NAME.  He took the time to learn our names.  At the end of the service, he spoke to me again and I asked him if he would be available to talk and he told me to call him after lunch around 1:30 Monday.  I had originally wanted to talk to him a little about what happened at our former church, but then my mother called me and didn't think it was a good idea.  I am still conflicted about that. Anyway, I got home today and a friend brought me over a bunch of clothes for the boys that her boys had outgrown and I got busy going through closets, getting rid of stuff they didn't wear, putting away new stuff and loading up my car with stuff for Goodwill.  About 3:00 as I was getting ready to leave, my phone rings.  It's the pastor from the new church, following up with me because he had not heard from me.

Do ya'll see the major difference here?  This is a man who gives a damn about people.  I did not go into any detail about what happened.  Basically just told him we had been very hurt by our former church and then I asked him questions about the youth group, praise and and Bible studies that the church offered.  They offer a lot, especially compared to what I just came from.  They do a lot in the community, which I love. They are holding a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving day for the needy of the neighborhood.  They are collecting mittens, scarves and hats for kids.  They are active and present in the community, doing things that matter. 

The same council meeting 14 months ago, when I spoke of my concerns about PE, I also spoke to them about a list I had written of things we could do within our community.  No one did anything.  No one even expressed interest. 

The last five weeks have been really hard for me.  When my church of 30+ years attacked me for not being spiritually fulfilled, it left me reeling.  I cried.  I got angry.  I was depressed.  I suffered insomnia.  But over the last three weeks with being in this new church, my faith in my faith has been restored.  My faith in Lutheran pastors is starting to be restored.  I have found out who my true friends are and I have discovered those who are only my friends when it is convenient for them.  I have shaken my head at the absurdity that people found me to be some kind of threat to their church because I was not smitten with the pastor and have been crushed by the way some Christians have chosen and are still choosing to conduct themselves.  None of us are perfect and we all have our issues, but any house of God should be safe for all who enter. I have seen true apathy and true caring.  These have been tough lessons to learn but so worth the journey.  My spirit no longer feels restless where my spiritual growth is concerned.  I know in my heart that restlessness came from the Holy Spirit, because I was happy in the praise band and happy in the youth group and then it suddenly over the last year and a half was no longer enough.  But still I dug in my heels and refused to move.  But God moved me.  He knew there was a better place where I could grow and maybe we have found it or maybe we haven't but I will say it is a far cry closer than where we came from. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Okay, Okay

It's no secret that I have been a little grouchy lately.  I know not every plan works for everyone and I also know that Jim loves to disagree with me (You know it's true!) so that was sort of all that I was saying.  I also get frustrated and I'm sure everyone else does as well, with the assaults of information we are given.  This is good for you.  No, now it is bad for you.  Do this.  Don't do that!  You know what I'm sayin'.  It's a wonder we can all get through our day with all the "new" information coming out about what we eat!  So I have friends who swear by South Beach and then have someone else saying it's not good for you, and at times it just makes me nuts.  Why can't there be one plan that just WORKS?  I know, because we are not a one size fits all society (tho my former church thinks we should be) but there are just times it gets to me and gets frustrating.  What to try?  What to do?  What will work?  It is all so trial and error.

Anyway, I did run today!  And it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I combined walking and running as I did not want to overly push myself after a two month absence from running.  It felt good to get out there and do it, so now I just have to keep doing it between now and the Turkey Trot.  If nothing else, I want my t-shirt!

Tomorrow is Friday and we are having a pre-Thanksgiving get together at a friend's cabin.  Then next week is a three day work week.  The following week is my final week before a week's vacay in California and I cannot wait!

Have not yet logged my food today...sushi was involved so I am a little scared!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tracking and Trainers

So I set up an appointment to meet with Sonia on Monday to switch up my workout routine.  The second bit of scary news is that I am going to attempt to do some running tomorrow...the thought of it makes me laugh, but only because it has been WEEKS since I have and I have a Turkey Trot to do a week from tomorrow.  Yeah, I am geared up and ready!  NOT! 

I had a long chat with Ashlee today at the Y about food and though I fought it tooth and nail, I am back on Spark People tracking my calories as of today.  Doing some research, this is how we should roll, and Jimnotmike, just be quiet.

The recommended benchmarks for a healthy balanced diet are to get 25-30% of your daily calories from fats, 15-25% protein and 50-65% complex carbohydrate. 

After tracking my calories for today, I would up with these percentages:

Fats 35.3 (that stupid cappachino from Sheetz put me over but I love vanilla chai anything.  Without that, I would have been right on target.)

Carbs 39%  Lower than the recommended...go me.

Protein: 25.7  Again, more or less on target.

Now, I did not snack as much today, maybe because I knew I was going to track my food.  My total calories for the day were 1853. 

Now I struggle with how many calories I should be eating.  Using a calories calculator and putting myself in the "very active" catagory (am I VERY active?) to maintain my weight I need 2872 calories per day.  If I am really moderately active, I need 2534 to maintain, so either way I am creating a calories deficit.

Ashlee and I also talked about South Beach and though I KNOW PEOPLE HERE WILL DISAGREE, she said that the low carb thing was not good for you, especially in the long run.  Your body needs carbs.  Now granted, I never got into the later phases of SB so maybe the maintainers are getting the recommended number of carbs our bodies need. I know that I need carbs in order to keep up my relatively intense workout regiment.  When I was low carbing, I was struggling with no fuel, so I know it was not working for me.  I lost about nine pounds, but really had a rough time with my workouts in the two weeks.  I like my physical activity and I know that carbs fuel it.

So I'll let you know how the walk/run goes tomorrow.  We'll have a good laugh.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Nothing Much Apparently Happened

Apparently, though it was discussed at the meeting how poorly the situation was handled, The Pupper Master never uttered a word.  What a crock of crap.  Of course, no one was going to apologize and two couples are still not speaking to me unless they absolutely have to, but whatever.  The two who quit council are now back on, which in a way is good.  The past few years we have only had enough people running for council as we had positions to fill.  Now, we only need three positions and we have five people running, so there is a chance the evil VP could be voted off as her term is up and she has to re-run to get back on council.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Now The Brit has ideas about going in long enough to vote on Sunday, but I have ZERO desire to do so.  I am never planning to attend there again, so though I would like to see the VP voted out, I am not going to stack the vote as someone who never plans to worship there again.  Plus, I have no desire to add any stress to the fact that I already have to be there five days a week with people who would rather I was not there.  I can handle it, but it does not make for optimal working conditions.  I would prefer to believe that God has it all in His hands and it will work out to His glory.  He certainly doesn't need my help.

Kickboxing tonight was big fun...all my normal friends were there so that made it even better than it normally is. Ray and Michael were particularly amusing and the three of us kept making each other laugh.  I needed it after spending an hour and a half in The Lawyer's room cleaning.  I swear in twenty years, the kid is going to be on Hoarders.  He keeps everything and buys the dumbest stuff!  He goes to a yard sale in the neighborhood with two dollars and comes home with a freakin' coffee maker for his room!  Not that we allow him to drink coffee because we don't and I generally only buy the Folgers Singles anyway and you don't need a coffee maker for that.  Plus he has no idea what a hamper or a trash can is, though he possesses both.  In an hour and half we filled three trash bags of garbage and a huge box with crap for Goodwill....and there is still more to do.

I have to say that I really, really like this new Lutheran church we have been attending.  So far, very good, but it has only been two weeks.  I just like what I see and hear so far and they do real sermons and the pastor is engaged with the people, which for me is another novelty.  I'm hoping it continues along these lines!

Monday, November 15, 2010

No news yet

So the council is meeting again tonight so we'll see what happens.  I am very calm...I'd like to think I have gone beyond caring about this situation.  I want to see this church succeed even if I am not a part of it, but that will be up to them.  They have got to stop doing this kind of stuff (this is not the first time since the split five years ago that a few people have ticked off a family and they left).  Church should be a safe haven for everyone, regardless of where they are in their life journey and when it stops being that, it changes the way you feel about that particular house of God. 

My sore throat is back again today which bites.  I went to the doctor with it a few weeks ago and though she could see the redness in my throat the strept test came back negative.  So now it is back.  Tod thought last time it was stress related, or it could be allergy related.  Either way, it is annoying.

But I did go to the gym today and did my whole workout.  It doesn't take as long anymore as I have it down, but after not doing it at all last week, today was rough, but I survived it.

We are having a New Year's Eve gathering if anyone is interested that I haven't spoken to.  We are forgoing our usual Christmas Open House because of Christmas being on a Saturday, that would mean we would have to do a Sunday plus I am just not in the mood to do it.  I forced it last year but it is a lot of hassle and you never know when people are coming, etc.  So at Tod's suggestion, we are taking NYE.  We are thinking maybe a dinner where we are picking three ingredients and each attendee has to pick at least one ingredient and incorporate it into their dinner offering with a potential prize for the dish that gets the most votes.  Then we will have a game and of course, drinking, theme.  I am already excited about it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fabulous Friday

So much relief comes with Friday.  Two days of not having to stress.

The music director's husband lost his job today.  We ran into them at lunch today and they told us.  I feel terrible but yet the conversation felt strained and I don't know if it was because she was stressing or because she is annoyed with me.  I have already decided that I am not going to go out of my way to keep this friendship going.  I will be who I have always been, but if I don't hear from her, I will survive.  This church thing has brought a whole slew of losses so what the hell is one more.  The thing is that if it is a loss with her friendship, it will be her choice, not mine.  If it happens and she can live with it, so can I.

Shiloh told me tonight in a FB message not to let the church steal my joy.  I am guilty of allowing it to do that.  I get so wrapped up in stress and as I am a girl who hates contention and confrontation, when I am assaulted with it, it takes every tiny bit of energy I have to cope with it.  I hate conflict and have been surrounded by it all because of one asshat with nothing better to do.  But I am giving them and the conflict too much power. 

My eating has been for crap the last three weeks.  I have been afraid to get on the scale, though all my clothing still fits.  I stress eat like nobodies business and I need to get that back under control.  I only hit the gym one day this week, and that was for kickboxing.  I did walk two or three days this week and raked a bajillion bags of leaves, but I have been isolating myself in the afternoons which is why I have not been to the gym.  I did not crave being around people.  That is also not like me.  I enjoy people but this situation has had me feeling so overwhelmed that I don't even feel like I can act like everything is fine around other people. 

There are plusses that have come out of this so far.

1. I have found a potential new church where they do for real sermons.
2. I have had my eyes opened about some people and though it is painful, it is better to know than to remain in the dark about what can lurk just beneath the surface of people's psyches. 
3. I have truly discovered who my true friends are, both inside and outside of the church.

Life is full of lessons, even the ones we would rather not have to learn.  But God knows what we need to know and I know He has been pushing to leave this church for some time.  He knew how spiritually bankrupt I had been feeling and He was the one causing me to recognize that fact.  The discontentment in my spirit came from Him, but I fought against it for more than a year because it would be too painful to leave the praise band and the kids.  And though leaving those two things has been painful, I have survived it.  There will be moments of sadness over this in the future; I know that grief is a process, but at the end of the tunnel there is light.  I can already see it even if it is in the distance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Almost There

Another Friday at long last is on the horizon.  Thanks for the comments.  Not sure what was up with them but they seem to be coming through now.  Jimnotmike, sorry about the lack of being able to type your given-by-me name, but the peace of mind I have here now is so worth it.  The other blog is now completely gone and it makes me moderately happy at the thought that some people were probably annoyed by that.

The Brit is home for a week hopefully, though he may have to go to Chicago next week.  Ugh.  I know the travelling needs to be done right now and it is generally fine and it would be more than fine if this church crap would just completely blow over.  There is another council meeting Monday night and I think some crap is going to go down on my behalf.  Out of all the people who know what happened, I have some big guns on my side.  I hate thinking of it as "sides" though.  The people on the "other side" only had half a story that the Busman gave to them after adding his own special twist to it, and then they were too upset to hear the real story.  I think I am changing the Bus Man's name to The Puppet Master because that is how he operates.  He pulls strings and gets other people to do his dirty work, while he just sits back and watches it all unfold.  The Puppet Master does not think like ordinary people.  Rumor has it he was asked to resign from his last job (he is in the retirement age catagory now) and he was just asked to leave another organization, so there are lots of issues.  I am just his latest victim.  I know in the big scheme of things, this is not that big a deal but yet in some ways it is.

The other troublesome thing for me is that someone I considered one of my closest friends, the music director, has not called me and I have not spoken to her since we sang at that dinner almost two weeks ago.  This could be due to a few possibilities:

1. She is not one to pursue friendships.  It is nothing for her to just not bother calling people which is why she has very few friends.
2. Beings she is not very internet savey, she may feel that this whole thing is my fault because I blogged.
3. being another employee of the church she may be worried they will come after her next so she does not want to be seen with "the enemy."
4. She blames me because she is concerned the church could fold and with that would go her job.  The church is struggling anyway and now we have left and my mother has left...and there could be more unless this thing gets turned around.

So, this whole thing has been one giant hurt on top of another.

I am reading this book called "When God's People Let You Down" and the way I feel is best described by this paragraph so far:

"No sane army commander looks out across a battlefield, sees his men shot and dying in dirt and blood but says to the medics, "Forget these guys.  There's more where they came from." Too many Christians feel like good soldiers wounded in action-and the leaders and fellow soldiers who were supposed to notice and help  have ignored them.  What an added insult!  You find yourself blamed for getting hurt in the first place."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are People Actually here?

Lack of comments makes me wonder if we are working here.

Today was a bad one.  This has all been like a giant roller coaster, some days are great, others horrible with no special reason why the bad ones are bad.  I had trouble sleeping again last night, thinking about giving up my Tuesday nights and how impossible it would be as I had just given up two impossible things and thinking about those things got me all emotional today again over the loss of the  youth group and praise band.  I know I will survive these things as sure as I know I will not be returning to them, but now, it is still difficult.  I know I am a survivor; I have been my entire life, but right now, I am still in a valley.  I keep thinking of the line to that Christian song which I'm sure is also a Bible verse: Strength will come as we wait upon the Lord.  I'm waiting.  I know there is a plan and it will be perfect. 

I could not bring myself to go to the gym today as I was in too bad a funk, so I came home and raked 11 bags of leaves from the backyard.  Believe it or not, it really helped my frame of mind.  It was a visible accomplishment and I was in the mood at the time to be alone.  Then tonight, I walked a few miles with Tod, which allowed me to blow off some steam to him.  The Brit has been away a lot the last two weeks and I am kind of over it right now, but having Tod around does help.

I came to the realization that I have a 5K to run Thanksgiving morning and I have not run in weeks.  Should be interesting!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Torn!

Okay, it's not like they have made me an offer or anything yet but I have a really good feeling after today's interview.  It is part time, two days a week, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9:30-6:00, with the possibility of adding Thursday eventually.  It pays better than I am making now and technically, if I wanted to, I could continue working at the church with less hours and work both places.  This office services people with limited incomes, they do work with the homeless shelter, all kinds of stuff that totally matters to me.

The problem?  I don't know if I can bear to give up my kickboxing class. How insane is that?  I was thinking about it on the way home from class tonight and  I was hit with the realization that I just didn't know if I could give it up.  It's so much more than my GBC too.  Kickboxing has helped transform who I am.  It makes me feel stronger than I ever thought I could feel.  It's my one workout a week that is in a group and I love that part of it too.  It has just made me feel so confident in so many other aspects of my life.

Maybe it is also because I have had to give up too many other things lately that I love.  I had to give up my youth kids and the praise band and my church and I am still dealing with these hurts.  I'm not sure giving up anything else right now that I love is an option.  Sure, I could do it if I had to, but I am not at the point that I have to.

So do I wait to see if they offer me the job and then ask if there is any way around this?  Have I lost my mind?   

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Don't Like Mondays

With not attending my former church on Sunday, it makes Mondays a bit of a concern for me.  The current situation leaves me never knowing what might have been said over the course of the weekend.  So this morning, the wife of one of the council members who is on my team, came in to speak with the pastor about the freak who threw me under the bus.  Their discussion lasted almost two hours and she told me after the fact she had told the pastor that if someone didn't stop this man from causing her friends to leave the church she might kill him.  Yes, our Christian attitude remains.  Then her husband and two of my self titled "Wise men" of the church got together to brain storm.  They don't want The One Who Threw Me Under the Bus (now known as BusMan) to become council president in the new year, which means one of them has to agree to do it and the rest of the majority will second it.  

Then the Twisted VP came in asking me questions including if I had an employee handbook she could see.  I explained to her that the parish admin had it and that really annoyed her. So, is she still trying to come up with a way to fire me?

One of my wise men called from the meeting and asked me if I was leaving them.  The convo went something like this:

Me: Leaving the church or leaving as your secretary?

Him: As our secretary.

Me: I don't know but I won't lie to you and tell you I'm not looking.

Him: I can understand that.  I would like to ask you to give us a little time to try to fix this.  It never should have happened.  I am sick about it.  I am sick that I was away for these meetings.  My wife is sick about  it.

Me:  You and I both know the economy is crap, but I am keeping an eye on the paper.  That's all I can promise you right now.

He understood completely.  It's good to know that there are truly good people out there amongst some, who, though not bad, are maybe confused?  The Wise Man told me that one of the people who are angry with me said that I had said to them " I am not a Lutheran.  I am a Christian."  He asked me to confirm what I said.  What I said was "I am a Lutheran because I have always been a Lutheran, but before I am a Lutheran, I am a Christian, because I am a follower of Christ."

I don't get it.  Why do they twist my words?  I never said I was not a Lutheran or that I didn't care that I was a Lutheran.  Jesus was not a Lutheran.  Would that bother them?

Anyway, another interview tomorrow at another dental office and I have to take a dental terminology test first.  If I don't get enough right, I don't get the interview, so I need to get my butt of the blog and relearn how to study.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apologies

I still feel like I am trying to get back to normal.  There are still lingering hits on the old blog and I feel both satisfied and upset that I even had to close it because of two people who felt it was their....right?....responsibility?...to pass on my blog post to other people.  There is still tension at the church but most of the rumblings are from those disgruntled with what these other two people did.  See, the last time four people left our this congregation, it was because of these same two people essentially.  Some of it could have been blamed on my mother, but she was set up by the two crap stirrers.  But what do you do with these kinds of people?  It's not like you can fire them from the congregation, right?

Anyway, went to the gym again today and went through the agonizing workout that has left my thighs aching for the last three days (after doing it Wednesday too).  But I do feel so much stronger in so many aspects of my life after a really good workout.  Sorry, Jimnotmike, but low carbing doesn't do that for me...only exercise ;)  I've been wimping out on the elliptical and stupid rowing machine though and have opted to just run the sprints each time.  Of course I have a Turkey Trot coming up in a few weeks and have not done any running to speak of in weeks!  Yeah, that run will go well.

Okay, have a happy weekend.  I plan on chilling out and then hitting another church on Sunday.  Hope you all have something fun to do and maybe our paths will even cross.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All Moved Over

So here we are!

Had a job interview today for a dental office. I was really excited about the interview but then once the interview was over, I think they were more excited about me than I was about them.

The main administrative office where they interviewed me was a mess. We are talking stacks and stacks of papers strewn everywhere, dirty dishes lying around on limited desktop space, just a disaster area. The two dentists are indian, which is fine. The hours are Monday through Friday, with two of those days being till seven in the evening, and then every other Saturday 9-2 and when you work the Saturday, you have off the Friday. But there are no benefits at all. Nada. No paid sick time, no paid holiday time, no paid vacation time, no health benefits. They are looking to pay about twelve bucks an hour with no added anything. I am all about laid back, but this place was too much so; there just didn't seem to be anything professional about it. So if they offer it to me, I am going to decline. It was just not a good fit and as much as I want to get as far as possible away from the church, it needs to be right.

The church is what it is right now. I fear for the place to fall apart, and not because I am leaving. But because the people who threw me under the bus are notorious trouble makers. They seem nice and sweet but they throw a mean punch when the mood hits them and I have to wonder if the retired of the world just don't remember how the real world works. They have far too much not just to read my blog, but to try to decide what cryptic messages I am trying to convey (and there were no cryptic messages...I was just trying to decide if it was time to leave my church...not take it over and make it non-denominational, which is what I have more or less been accused of. Insanity).

I am just making every effort to be pleasant to people while I am there but the problem is that the ones who are in during the week most often are most of the ones I am put out with. The VP does seem to be on speaking terms with me again, at least today. Tomorrow could be a different story but who cares? Tomorrow is Friday!

I am still working on sprucing up our new home here. Laura got the posts transferred over (don't tell her mama, as they are mad at me!) but we couldn't get all the comments for some reason. I left my final post on the godaddy account tonight and if you haven't seen it, it simply says:


This blog has been moved to a private domain, where only those who received the email with the information two weeks ago, are able to view it. Some folks were invited into my "virtual living room" and then decided they didn't like my feelings. Right or wrong, those feelings belong to me and no one has the right to judge them. This blog has always been my safe place to stay in contact with my family and friends; the people who truly care about me. I was wrong about some people, but we all live and learn, sadly. But life also goes on and my blog has been returned to me and those who love me.

If you believe you should have had an invitation, you will need to friend me on Facebook to request one. I gave the information to my friends who have always followed my blog and to those friends who left me comments.

So as I have always loved quoting songs, I leave you with a line from one of my favorites, from Wicked's "Defying Gravity".

"Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love, I guess I've lost
Well if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost"

The comments are not open for this post. It is simply a farewell and I will see most of you in our new home.

I guess some of those folks will just have to go back to checking books out of the library if they want something to read.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome to Our New Home

So here is what is happening tomorrow:

My friend and Blogger wiz, Laura, is coming over here late in the afternoon to transfer all the posts from my other blog to this blog.  The other blog is going to go away.  The church people who in their special way, seem to hate me, are all over the other blog still.  I don't think they all are, but there are still far too many hits coming over there than is the norm.  The only way I can make them leave it alone is for it to go away.  If any of you here, know of anyone else who used to read the other blog and was not invited here, please let me know.  When I did my invite list for this blog, I went by my comments section to see who read and commented.  I am sure I have readers who do not comment and for them, I am sorry, but I cannot have the blog being public right now.  Once I have a new job, I will probably make this one public but until then, it can't happen.

I found out today who threw me under the bus.  Everytime I think I have my feelings about this under control, I find out something new.  The Brit resigned last night and apparently after he left, the whole story came out.  A member of the church and his wife didn't like the blog post and pulled another member of council into it.  The thing is that out of the seven people who are so twisted at me and The Brit right now, these two people have been the nicest!  I think she knew today when I was leaving tho, that I knew it was she and her husband. I was just trying to get out the door and she stopped me and said "Give me a hug."

I guess she was hoping to drive the knife in deeper.  Unbelievable.

I am not sure how any of this for the church is going to end up.  I don't want them to fall, and they didn't the first time there was trouble (this couple was right smack in the middle of that mess too.  Go figure.  Though the folks that left in that split had definite issues in their way of thinking, I was there but not in the midst of the mess.  This couple seems to thrive there) so hopefully they will survive this mess too.  But lots of people are still upset on "both sides" (I hate the sides thing.  shouldn't we all be on the same side?) and that is never a good thing.  Someone tell me that there are normal churches out there that don't have drama every five years?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Have Got to Escape!

I need to find a job.  I have to find a job.  Anything.  I hate the fact that as soon as we got home late this afternoon, I started to feel sick knowing that tomorrow was Monday.  That I have to go back there where I was betrayed and so incredibly hurt.  Hurt in the church is the worst.  It is supposed to be safe.  My blog was supposed to be my safe place to vent.  The church was a place I should have been allowed to feel confused about whether to stay or go.  It should not have been a place where an attack was launched against me.  Do they really think that what they did was right?  Do they really feel so righteous?  Was I wrong?  I don't feel like I was.  Why were they allowed to do this?

I hate feeling this way.  I hate feeling like I need to double my medication to get through this.  I hate the fact that my happiness has been taken from me.  I hate feeling like I have to constantly look over my shoulder, wondering who is there waiting to hurt me again.  I hate being alone when I walk in there five days a week.  Hate it.  I hate this dread and this depression and this stress. 

There are moments where I feel really strong and then moments like now where I feel so weak that I may not survive it.  I can see no end in sight yet.  I have no interviews scheduled yet though my resumes are out there.  I know if I can just find something and get out it will all be better.  But this stress and dread will continue for as long as I have to work there.  I don't foresee it getting better until then.  I have stepped as far back as I can.  I have given up things that felt impossible to give up, just because someone decided it was okay to exploit my feelings...to hand out what was anonymous and put my name on it for all of them to see and twist.  It was just a post about my confusion about staying at the church or leaving it.  Shame on them for making it so easy a decision for me.

I am trying to forgive them if for no other reason than to take the power they have over me right now away but it is so hard when the hurt is so fresh.  The anger has faded but my hurt is so raw.  When I think of how hard I worked with so many of them to keep things running, to grow the church; when I think of all the things I took on so that there would be no gaps in the church and then this is what they do?  It hurts more than anything has in a very long time.  I just want to cry and only stop when it is all over but right now it feels as if it will never be over.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Almost Friday

This week has been almost as long as last week.  I am going to the end of the praise band rehearsal to rehearse two songs Paula, Dave and I are supposed to sing at a UCT (United Commercial Travelers something or other) Saturday night and I don't even want to do that.  Ruth asked us to sing and I have done it every year for  the last few years for her but a few of the people who have been so angry with me are going to be there.  Though not a church event, some of them are members of this organization and with my very real trust issues at the moment I am afraid someone might try to start something.  I almost can't imagine it, but then again, I could not have imagined any of this stuff happening.

I think another part of what has them so much in an uproar is that in my blog post, I had been talking about trying to find a Bible study, when all our church was offering was a study on Lutheranism.  I have been a Lutheran my whole life so I have that down.  I blogged that I "didn't get hung up on denomination" when discussing my desire for a Bible study and I think some of the people got upset thinking I wanted to change our church to a non-denominational church.  Maybe that was the cryptic message I didn't know about.  Like I am so powerful?  I have no desire to change the denomination of the church; I just wasn't interested in a Lutheran study and before I am a Lutheran, I am a Christian.  Period.

I forgot to tell you all in yesterday's post that someone also anonymously called the Bishop's office about the council blowup and maybe the blog post too, I have no idea.  Am I the only one who thinks this thing is being blown up into unbelievable proportions?  Seriously? 

And no, Margaret, though all of this, no one, including the pastor, has offered to pray with me.  That is what you have been doing with me.  No one has offered to sit down to talk to me to try to understand why I do not feel spiritually fulfilled.  No one had any concern for my feelings.  Their only concern is that my feelings did not match theirs. 

The Brit is going to go on Monday night and make nice with the council.  And then resign.  The VP will be delighted to be president, though I no longer see her as any kind of leader.  Leaders don't betray the rest of the council by discussing what they had agreed not to discuss and leaders would not be trash talking a member in a supposed Bible study. 

I am looking at non-denomination churches though I don't want any of the people at my current (or rather ex-) church to know because that would only cause them to "Read between the lines" that I didn't want to be Lutheran.  I am not against being Lutheran, but I would like to worship in a larger congregation.  My experience with a small congregation of late has been less than stellar. 

I did talk to the pastor again today and told him I was taking a break on Sundays.  He is hoping it will not be forever, but I explained that I was not comfortable, no longer trusted a lot of people, and thought that church was a place you were allowed to be confused or broken.  Not a place for people to try to break you.  Huge difference.