jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Was it just last week I was celebrating being able to have an email exchange with McKenzie without crying? It's as if he read that and took it as a challenge. We've had some of the kindest, softest exchanges of the decade we've known each other in the last couple of weeks. That fucker.

Things that are true about me:
I love Toby and want to be with him. I'm fully committed to him and happy about it.
I love and miss McKenzie.
My life is better than it has (ever?) been.
There will always be voids that only McKenzie can fill. And sometimes I'll really wish they were filled. (Haha maybe that's a vagina joke! Except no it's not. Also not a butt sex joke, for the record.)
I may or may not want to date other people and have varying levels of romantic relationships with them over the years.
Right now I'm emotionally capped at casual dating, no sex. But I'm open to the possibility that this could change any time.

Anyway that's where my heart is now. Happy for what is, sad for what is not, excited for the future that is possible, devastated about the loss of the future I once may have had.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've got a million things I really need to be working on today, but for the most part, that's just not going to happen. Maybe I'll be productive tomorrow.

Last night was Ross's birthday party. He always throws a huge shindig at his place, with live music, stand-up comedy, dancing, food, and lots of booze. I always meet awesome people there and have a great time -- I've known him a year and change, and he does the parties for his birthdays and also a winter version, so it was my third one. Last night, Toby and I decided after lots of fun times that it was probably time to go, and we gathered our things, thinking it must be about 1am. It was 3:30. Holy shit. So today's plans were already in jeopardy at that point. Then when we got in our Uber, I started feeling not so great. About halfway home, I asked the driver to pull over, so that I could gather myself in the fresh air and not puke in his car. Luckily, I didn't puke at all, but as soon as I was out of the car gathering myself, Toby came to my side, and the driver pulled away. Toby had told him to go on, but really I didn't think I needed that much time. Oops. So we ended up waiting in the cold for about 15 minutes while we waited for the next available driver. The rest of the ride home was no piece of cake, but we made it, and once I got to bed, I felt a lot better. Toby actually ended up barfing a bit before bed, but he said he felt much better for it and not to worry. Okay then.

Having been working hard all week to get up earlier and be active in the mornings, my body was well into that pattern, and was not interested in letting me get the sleep I so very much needed to fight off the massive hangover I had dealt myself. So I was awake and feeling fucking terrible at 7am. I drank a lot of water and shuffled around the bedroom rather aimlessly for a while, and after maybe an hour of just feeling like total ass, I remembered that aspirin is a thing! So I took some, and as soon as it started to take effect, I was able to drift off to a much more comfortable sleep. Toby and I both had different places to be at 3, so at 1:30, I decided it was time to work on getting up. Toby was out COLD. I had been awake for a bit and rubbing his back and while reading, and usually this sort of thing elicits a few satisfied mumbles from him, but he was almost entirely unresponsive. I finally had to just wake him up so we'd get to where we were going on time, but when he got up, he was sick again. Poor guy. We did finally get out the door, and he assured me he was doing better, but the car ride sorta got to him, too, so we pulled over for a bit for him to collect himself. I dropped him off soon after, and he says he's doing much better now. I'm glad. I haven't been feeling hungover since taking the aspirin, but I've been void of energy all day. I was only out for a couple of hours, and when I made it back home, the plan was to go for a run, but the reality was to go to sleep. Cleopatrick and I got some good cuddle time, and I really enjoyed those additional hours of rest. I came downstairs to have a sandwich for dinner, and have been toying with the idea of some sort of exercise still, but...no. Today is a write-off. So I've been doing some puzzles and online games and just listening to music and drinking water, letting myself recover. I have an open house tomorrow, and plans every day next week, so I'll be back in the swing of things shortly. A nothing day is fine.

I did talk to some family on Facebook, though. My cousin Laura and her husband are splitting up. I don't know any of the details and I'm not sure if I ever will, but I messaged both of them to let them know I'm thinking of them and love them. Of all the marriages in my family, I really had considered theirs one of the very strongest. I'm not around them much, but I've always been close with Laura, and just everything about their relationship that I'd witnessed was the kind of stuff that makes even happy people really jealous. So it's a real shock that they're splitting. Above all, I feel terrible for them, because I know the heartbreak first hand and I care about them both very much and it's so sad. But in the abstract, their split makes me feel kind of comforted? Like, relationship perfection isn't what it seems, and I can retroactively kind of ease the pull of the jealousy I used to feel. It's hard to explain. It's not schadenfraude, because again I am SAD for them. I guess it's just kind of enlightening? And now I'm no longer the only one in my entire goddamn family who's been divorced. The closest divorce in my family is my aunt on the other side, who has been separated, but not divorced, from her husband for twentysome years. No one else in my extended family on either side, going out as far as I actually know my relatives, has been divorced. Being a divorcee in this family has felt a lot like I imagine it would have felt like in the 50's. People just DON'T do it, and they don't know how to relate to those very few of us who have. So...in a way I feel like their split brings me closer to my family, or my family closer to me. These reflections make me feel like I'm kind of horrible, finding a selfish benefit in their sad circumstances. I mean...ugh. I'm not happy. But yeah, the situation has led me to find a silver lining that is only my own. Anyway.

And then, Toby. I am so happy with him. And I think we do have this crazy strong relationship. Others probably would be jealous of it except for the fact that we are non-monogamous, and most folks I know can't really wrap their heads around that. Like they assume we're happy about our relationship except for the poly part. And...no? There are times he's with his other partner when I wish he was here, but there are also times when he's at work and I wish he was here instead. And all of those times, if I say to him that I need him to put me first and be here, he will. So it's not something that bothers me. I like dating others, too, but I do find that I'm not really as interested in pursuing whole romantic relationships with others. I have formed a lot of new relationships over the last year, and most of them are just friends. Even some of the romantic-ish relationships I've had are really only a notch beyond completely platonic. Toby is the only serious partner I have right now, and I'm happy in this situation. But I don't want monogamy. I still like going on dates, I still like that it's okay to explore any feelings that develop, I still like first kisses, etc. Those things just aren't at all attached to the notion that the person I'm seeing could be "the one" or fill some major role in my life that's currently vacant. It's so liberating to date like that. The pressure is entirely off, and everything feels really authentic. And so far, that part of me just wants to cuddle a little and play board games and sometimes kiss :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Guys. I've been really depressed lately. I've felt mostly good most of the time, and I can look at my current path and see this bright future. And even a bright present. Things are good. My head knows that. My heart? Maybe not so much.

I'm doing what I can. Right now I'm going through a really severe bout of "oh shit what is my life?" mostly with regard to my divorce. When I didn't hear from McKenzie on my birthday, that sent me into this spiral...I remain surprised at how much that has affected me, and its spiderweb effect on my emotions. It had seemed like Z and I were going to stay close and supportive of one another through everything -- our counselor suggested that this was a dangerous way to proceed, but we both agreed that we wanted to anyway. We love each other and understand each other and have needed each other. And so we've been there. We've shared tears and laughter and understanding. And then...that ended.

McKenzie decided that this was holding him back from being really happy, and he needed to end that. At first, my reaction was "okay, that makes sense, that's fine..." because I thought I was doing really well, and could be happy, too, with this new pace. But I miss him. I tried to talk to him the other night, and he got kind of mean. He didn't think he was being mean, but it felt mean. He was basically saying "your sadness is not my problem anymore, and you need to find someone else to help you, because you chose to let me go." Maybe there was no hostility intended, but since I felt like I needed him and he was emphatically not going to be there for me, his response really hurt.

I ache for the good in what we had. I know it was mixed with lots of bad and I can't separate the two -- we tried for a long time to do that -- but there are a million little jokes every day that I know we would share if we were together, in a way that I doubt I'll ever connect with anyone else. That's not to say I won't have strong and beautiful connections with others, but nothing will replace or replicate what I shared with Z, and it was a really, really special thing.

The upside of this is that I have never felt more loved in my life. My friends are there for me in amazing ways. I am so grateful for all the people in my life. Those who've listened to me cry about my feelings for hours on end, those who've invited me out to do things and keep the happy in my life, those who've sent long-distance hugs, those who've traveled to spend time with me, those who've made a point to reach out just because -- I love you guys so fucking much. You make it really difficult to wallow in depression, and I thank you for that.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I had a meeting with a personal injury attorney this morning about my car accident case. I'd met with another lawyer previously, but he had to refer me because he didn't have the bandwidth to take my case, though he had been very optimistic about it. The lawyer I met with today was much less so, and now I'm left wondering how to move forward with the case. Awesome. More difficult decisions.

I thought I had a much more crammed schedule today, but unless I'm completely forgetting something, I really don't. So instead of going to BodyPump at 5:30 like I usually do on Mondays, I'm going to yoga at noon. I went to pump yesterday, so it's good to give myself a day off in between. I'll go to another one soon though. And I think I really need yoga right now.

After that, I have a session with my marriage counselor, again just one-on-one rather than with McKenzie. Everything about this situation is so hard. I suppose it will be easier in the future no matter which direction we go, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier for me to move forward one way or another. I'm sad and scared all the time. It really sucks.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I don't know what's happening in my life. I asked McKenzie to give me some time to myself, to think about things without the overwhelming stimuli I get from our conversations. I want our marriage to work but I'm being pressured to make choices I'm not ready to make, not confident enough in myself to know what's right. He said he doesn't know if he can still be there for me at the end of this time off (I said I needed something like a week or two). Feels like I'm playing Russian Roulette. But I do need that time and I let him walk away. We hugged, said we loved each other, and then he drove off. He has a flight later tonight to Charlottesville, and will be back in the PNW in early February. I am so scared.

Nothing like an emotional crisis to get me moving on other things, though. I got fish today. Not seahorses -- I want to be damn sure the tank is fully ready before I spend $100 per fish on something that's going to mean a lot to me. So I went to an aquarium shop near me today and got some advice on what I could put in the tank to test it (something hardy that I'm not likely to kill as I figure this shit out), and something that can live harmoniously with seahorses when I'm ready for them. The overlap in that Venn diagram is rather small, though. I ended up bringing home some firefly gobies and some crabs (to be my tank cleaning crew, as suggested by the guy at the shop). I am currently following the instructions to acclimate them to my tank, which is a fairly slow process, but they'll be swimming free in there within an hour.

On my way home from running errands, I thought how much I would appreciate someone to come be with me for a little while. Most of my friends have jobs and other responsibilities that make this not so realistic, but I thought of my aunt Sara. She's retired and exactly the kind of person I want here with me as I go through whatever it is I'm going through. So I sent her a message asking her to come. She hasn't replied yet and I don't know if she'll be able to, but I feel a huge sense of relief just for having asked her. My parents said they'd come sometime soon, and I'm grateful, but my parents can be a little (a lot) too intense in these situations. My mom has a lot of issues with denial, and while she loves me and is here for me, she's not the best comfort. (When McKenzie and I were separated in 2010, I went to stay with my brother for a little while. My mom decided I needed her and came down herself, kicked me out of the guest bedroom onto the couch because she's too old to sleep on a couch, but then stayed up late on the couch watching sitcoms that invariably featured weddings.) I love my mom, but she has a knack for making me feel worse when she's trying to make me feel better. And I know how much I want to be the aunt that people turn to for support in tough times, so I figure maybe calling on my own aunt is a good way to go here.

I miss my husband.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I held two open houses this weekend. Well, one house, but two times. I feel like I'm still not great at talking to the people that come through. I can answer questions about the house, sure, but the real purpose is to pick up clients from the people who are looking. I'd been whiffing at that the first bunch of times I held opens, but practice makes perfect, right? So I'll keep at it until I get better. Today was the first time when I felt like I met some people who might actually call me. Part of the problem is that I keep holding this same house open, and it's been on the market for a while and it's shop worn. It would be better to get a new listing to hold open, but I guess at least I'm familiar with this one...

I am anxious. I want to get better, faster. I want more time to spend on real estate, but the problem is that I'm not making money at it yet, so I can't afford to not make my hours at my paying job my top priority. With all my personal life upheaval, it just feels like I have very little time to put toward this thing that I really want to be a big thing in my life. I'll get there, though. Once I get a couple of closings under my belt, I'll be able to reduce my hours (quit?) at the insurance job and put more time into Realtoring.

I mentioned personal life upheaval. Yeah. That's happening. I mean, it has been for a while. Maybe it would be more of an upheaval if things were calm. I'm just so sad all the time. McKenzie is sad all the time. I think it's probably exhausting to be my friend right now, because all I talk about is how sad I am, and how things are just in a repetitive cycle of sad. That's why I'm not posting much these days. It's just the same sad stuff around and around again. My marriage is in trouble. But I love my husband. He loves me. We're both sad. We both want it to work. But we're failing. Are we breaking up? Are we staying together? When will we make a decision that sticks, one way or the other? It's so draining. He changed his travel plans and will be coming home tomorrow so that we can do some emergency relationship maintenance. Maintenance may not be the right word. But the point is we're going to work together toward progress of some kind.

I'm trying to keep myself busy with productive, creative, and healthy endeavors. I'm going to the gym regularly, hiking when I can get friends to join me in the cold, wet outdoors, and just trying to be around friends more. My friends are wonderful people. They rally hard for me when they know I'm suffering. They make sure I always know I'm loved and appreciated. They entertain me. I include my LJ friends in that group, too. I am so grateful for this platform. I'm sad it's not what it used to be and so many people have stopped using it, but I've also made so many great friends here by looking for new people when my friends list went quiet, so in a way I'm glad it's not what it used to be, too.

Anyway, if you're one of those friends who'd like to be there for me more, but you live far away, may I suggest a visit to Portland? I've got guest rooms and airline miles I'm happy to share. I'd be really grateful for company, for the opportunity to focus on being a Portland ambassador, for in-person hugs.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I bought my fish tank 2.5 years ago, after at least another 2.5 years spent talking about how I was going to get one. Most parts of it sat in the trunk of my car for several months. I eventually brought them inside (probably because McKenzie needed the trunk space rather than because I had a plan for it all), and then all the pieces sat in the corner of my breakfast nook for another really long time.

The fish tank became a symbol of frustration, a metaphor for all the ways I've tried and then stopped trying in so many aspects of my life. Big ideas, often accompanied by big expenses, and then...stagnation or failure. This is definitely a pattern for me. Nearly every hobby I've ever had has been something I worked hard at and enjoyed thoroughly for the first month or so -- long enough to want to sink a lot of time and money into it -- and then it's something that sort of got cast aside. I like to believe that I still do all those things, but the truth is it's been a year since I played my clarinet, several years since I touched my knitting or crochet needles, and even though I've got enough supplies to accessorize the entire city of Portland, my jewelry-making output has dwindled to approximately one item every month.

This pattern, of course, frustrates my husband. Partly because it all costs money, partly because all the stuff I get takes up space and then remains here to clutter, because I am incapable of admitting that no, I'm not ever really going to be that kind of craftswoman or whatever thing it is I once envisioned myself being. I still believe somewhere inside me that one day, I will do all these things. I will at least come back to some of them, if not all, right? Right. Then the real reason this pattern frustrates my husband (and me) is that it makes it really hard to believe any changes in my life will stick. Sure I'm acting like a better wife, but is this just another fish tank situation, where I've put a lot of effort into it for now, but I'll eventually run out of momentum for it and being a good wife will be another one of those hobbies I discard? I got my real estate license, and I go to the meetings and do the work, but will it stick? I want it to. But I wanted all those other things to stick, too. And more than any of the other hobbies, I've been steadfast in my love for seahorses and desire to own them. And if I can't move forward on that...

So I'm moving forward. But it remains an appropriate metaphor. I got it assembled a few months ago. It only took me a few weeks from that point to put water in it. But then it leaked. I had to turn off the mechanisms pumping the water and drain the sump so as not to flood my house. Then I couldn't get the sump out to fix the leak. I was supposed to take it into the store, but the part that connects it is pushed up against my wall and I can't get to it with 55 gallons of very heavy water anchoring it in place. So I sat, paralyzed, for another couple of months, doing nothing, but stating my intentions to do something. Finally I went to the store and told them I can't get the sump out, what can I do? They told me how to fix it on my own, and it took me another couple of weeks before I attempted that repair. I finally got around to it, but I didn't trust myself to put everything back together after attempting to dismantle the guts of the tank some weeks prior.

Finally I found some confidence one day and just did it. I put the pieces back together and turned the filter back on. I quickly turned it off when it made loud grinding noises at me. I needed to put water back in the sump before I tried to filter, otherwise it's just gasping for something that isn't there. I took a sample of my water back to the store to see if it was ready for fish, even though it had been sitting without going through the filter for two months. Turns out the salinity was way too high, probably because so much water had evaporated. I was told to top it off with fresh water. It took me another week to get my shit together enough to go get said fresh water (I get it from the store, not just from the tap...tap water has too much shit going on), but I got it today. Getting it into the tank from the jugs I have is a challenge. I am going to need to learn how to transfer water more efficiently. The top of my tank should lift off to provide access, but it's at least a two-person job, and I'm just here by my onesie right now. So the solution I came up with was to pour the water from the 60-pound jugs into cups, one little tiny cup at a time, and pour the cup into the tank from the top. Anyway, it took me more than an hour and a lot of spilling on the floor, but I got the water level back to normal in the tank. The filter is running. I am a little concerned because nothing is coming out of the tank yet to go back into the sump, but I'm going to assume that's because the sump is full (I poured one jug directly into the sump, because it's underneath the tank and somewhat accessible, but not large enough for all the water I had to add back). As far as I can tell, everything is in working order -- there's no water spilling or leaking anywhere (knock on wood), so I'll let it do its thing for a few hours and see if it looks like the water is actually moving through the filter. I'm about 90% certain that everything is as it should be, but I don't have much confidence in myself, and if it goes awry, it could be a huge fucking problem that I don't know how to fix, so I can't call it good yet.

Assuming everything continues to appear to function, I will add fish next week. I think it will take a few days for the water to cycle through and for the salinity to get back to a level that the fish can handle, and for the temperature to level out since I just turned the light back on for the first time in a while and added so much new water, too. So the goal is the weekend or next week for my first fish. I may see if I can get someone from the store to actually come to my house and check on the setup for me, but that may not be possible since the store is in NE Portland and I live in a far SW suburb. But maybe?

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that even though I've really stepped up my effort to get the fish tank going FOR REAL, there's still so much more to it than just getting over my lack of confidence and paralysis. There are legit speedbumps, and then those speedbumps take away confidence, and even though I know what I need to do or should do or should get help doing, I just put it off because it's too overwhelming...but I am making progress. I am going to have some motherfucking fish in this motherfucker before the month is out. And hopefully they'll live a normal fishy lifespan under my care. And I'll learn as I go, as I do with all things.

So, yeah, a pretty appropriate metaphor for my marriage, my career, my life.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I mentioned before that I don't like the idea of resolutions -- you should try to better yourself whenever you can, not just because the calendar says it's time. That said, a lot of changes I'm trying to make sort of line up with the turning of the calendar, so, what the hell, my New Year's resolutions for 2015:

Drink less soda -- not sure if I am going to cut it out completely, but I need to cut way back for sure. I'm going back to my policy of not stocking it in my fridge or at my office. When I have a case of it around, I tend to chain-drink them. So I'm going back to what was a successful policy of purchasing no more than one soda at a time. If I need another, I have to go back to 7-11 or whatever. I was sticking to this really well for the first part of the year, and then I thought I'd reduced my intake enough that I had the addiction side of it under control and it was just being wasteful/financially unsound to buy them one at a time, so I started buying cases again, and...whoops. So anyway I'm weaning off. I'm letting myself drink what's left at whatever pace, but when it's gone, it's gone. I thought I had close to a whole case at my office, so I figured I'd get at least a few days to taper off. But then when I got here this morning, there was none. So I guess the weaning will be less gradual than I thought. Here's hoping my caffeine withdrawal headache doesn't send me into a murderous rampage before lunch.

Reduce screen time -- I have this terrible habit of going to bed with my laptop and then playing Netflix all night, which means I never get good rest and there are a million studies that say how bad screen time at bedtime is, so I know, I know, it's gotta stop. I'm sure the combination of my poor sleep and my soda binging has a lot to do with my constant fatigue.

Get seahorses -- The tank is THISCLOSE to ready. There was a leak that I had trouble fixing, so that was kind of a setback, but I was able to make the repair yesterday and I'm pretty sure everything is back to functional. The problem is that the water sat stagnant for a while, because I couldn't run the filter system until I fixed the leak in the sump, so the salinity is way too high right now. I have to top it off with fresh water and let it cycle a little more until it's back to a normal level. THEN I can put fish in. SOON!

Sell houses -- Anyone want to buy a house in Portland? The market is great for investors right now. Rental demand is very high, so it's a great place to be a landlord. Seriously. Call me.

Lose weight -- I'm such a cliche. But the combination of all my bad habits has really caught up to me in a bad way, and I'm not happy with my body right now. So this one is twofold: eat better/smarter and work out harder. I'm signed up for a 5K at the end of January, and I intend to do a 10K in February. I should probably go ahead and sign up so that I'm committed to it. But I need to do a lot more than just running. That's not enough to keep a girl in shape. I went to a yoga class yesterday, and I'm back to seeing Ertan weekly. I need to get back to regular Pump classes, and there's a new class I want to try called GRIT Strength, but I'm afraid it's going to kill me. But I'm gonna try.

Be a better wife and partner -- Something I've been working on all year. I'm making progress.

Keep my house and car clean(er) -- Keeping it cleaner won't be hard. Keeping it clean...eh. I'm really hopeful that I'll make enough money in real estate to hire a regular cleaning service...

So that's what I'm working on. Encourage me? Thanks!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I haven't written much lately. I've been busy, and other things have taken priority. I haven't been spending as much of my free time at the computer. That's a big change.

McKenzie landed in Zanzibar yesterday. I'm jealous, and I miss him, and I hope he has a really wonderful time. I will not likely hear from him again until he's back in the states in ten days, and I'll meet him in Providence for the NABC shortly after that.

I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on my marriage lately. We still don't know what will happen. Not knowing is hard. I love my husband. I value our relationship. But we may not be capable of being truly happy together, and that's a tough reality with which to grapple. We both maintain hope that we actually can be happy, and we are working on it and having some great times together as we work...but it's still not definitive. We're still in limbo. It's so hard.

There is no one in the world who gets me the way that McKenzie does. I doubt there's anyone who could connect with him the way I do. These things are not replaceable with other relationships, romantic or platonic. If I lose what I have with Z, it will forever be a difficult vacancy. I don't want to lose it. I don't think he does, either. But I don't know if we can hang on, either. It's so complicated. It seems like it should be simple -- we love and like each other and want to be happy together -- so we should do it! But...it doesn't quite work like that. Shame. But for now, we keep trying.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I need to be productive today. I have let myself sleep in and relax a little bit, but soon it will be time to get this shit moving. I'm working on my real estate tools, going through the slow and tedious process of adding everyone I know who might ever buy or sell a home in Oregon to my work database. I have ideas swirling around for my website, too, but I haven't decided on anything concrete yet. My friend Paul gave me the BEST IDEA EVER for one of the tasks I have to tackle, but I'm not going to write about it specifically because that will spoil the fun surprise that's coming.

Other things I need to do today: go to the gym, go to the fabric store and get materials for the next project in my sewing class, whatever real estate work I can do, and maybe be crafty. I have some incomplete jewelry projects I could work on, and may do some practice stuff with my sewing machine. Blazers fan fest is this evening, and i'm going to that with Shellie, so I guess I need to get all these things done before then. I am so freaking excited that it's basketball season again, finally. I love the Blazers.

Last night, Z and I went on a movie date for the first time in a long time. We didn't know anything about anything that's showing now, but we both liked what we read about The Skeleton Twins, so we decided to go see that. It was definitely a good movie. But. It was kind of absolutely the wrong thing for us to see together. Way too many parallels to the shit we've been going through, and it got really hard to sit in the theater together with that weight on us both. We did talk it through after the movie, though, and I'm really pleased that we were able to do that in a healthy and productive way. I was really afraid the effect of the movie would be that we'd both be bristly and uncomfortable with each other for days, but we talked and the bristliness went away within a few minutes instead. Yay progress! So my review of the movie is that it's good and often funny but you shouldn't see it if you're in the middle of relationship struggles, and you definitely shouldn't see it with the person with whom you are relationship struggling. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

McKenzie just booked a trip to Zanzibar next month. I'm really excited for him...and incredibly jealous.

I could go. I can afford the ticket and I can probably swing the time off. But I decided the responsible thing for me to do is stay home and work. I need to put some real hours into real estate, and also get real hours on the clock at my hourly job at NCM.

It is SO HARD to decline an opportunity to travel, though. Especially someplace so awesome. While my husband goes.

I hope I get some excellent presents out of this trip.

My travel agenda is pretty light for the rest of the year: Seattle the weekend after next, SFO two weekends after that, Philly-Charlottesville-Providence circuit right around Thanksgiving and the NABC, and then maybe traveling over Christmas, either back to VA again or to Reno for the regional. Possibly a little of each.

I do understand that calling that agenda "light" is ridiculous to some people. But this is how I live. I have roots, but I'm a wanderer. And I really love it. I'm hopeful that my real estate career will take off in such a way that when travel deals come along, I won't feel like they're now-or-never opportunities. Sure, it's great to get a huge discount on a trip to an exotic place, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to comfortably afford the regular price soon enough. Then it won't sting so much to say no to Zanzibar right now...I can go to Zanzibar later. Right? Yeah. Who wants to go to Zanzibar with me?

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
McKenzie got home yesterday evening and we had a session with our counselor. The last few weeks have been brutally hard and I've been having a difficult time thinking about the future. I have so many potential plans that I just haven't been able to commit to because I don't know if I'll be married or divorcing, financially okay or broke, etc. Am I going to Providence for the NABC? Will I go to Virginia for Thanksgiving? What about Christmas? Am I buying a new car? What am I looking for? So many of these decisions hinge on whether I am married and have the support of my husband or if I am rebuilding life on my own. But decisions need to be made.  I mentioned this to our counselor last night and he said "You're married! Operate on that basis until you learn otherwise. You can change plans."

Seems obvious, right? But now that I'm thinking of it that way, I'm not feeling so close to the edge of the marriage, and that's good. So I'm going to make my plans for Providence as soon as I can get the OK from work. I'm not letting myself book tickets until I finish real estate school, though. It's actually my plan to finish this weekend and schedule the test for next week or the week after. Wish me luck and productivity!

The therapy session last night was really difficult, and I sobbed basically throughout, but it was overall very positive. I feel much more secure and confident than I did before going in. I don't know how long that feeling will last, as the recent trend has been extreme volatility, but I've learned not to expect a certain future. Just go with what is true right now, and adjust plans as needed when things change. Breathe.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
In happier news, I went to see 10 String Symphony and Tattletale Saints last night. My friend Justin joined me and a good time was had by all. Spent some time catching up with my Nashville pals, collected some soul-nourishing hugs, and got to know a new friend better. Justin is talking about possibly moving away from Portland, likely just temporarily, sometime in the soonishness. It always bums me out when people talk about leaving here. I just don't understand how it can be done. But he also said he likes soccer, so I guess our brains are just very different.

McKenzie gets home tonight. It feels like we've had a really positive week+ since he's been out of town, but then this morning he was feeling really down, and that deflated my optimism a bit. I'm still looking forward to seeing him and working together. One of our assignments from our counselor was to focus on lifting each other up, so I want to practice that here for a moment.

Last night at the show, I was mingling with lots of different people, and it seemed that every other sentence out of my mouth was "My husband loves ___," or "My husband taught me all about ____." One guy I talked to was a FedEx pilot from Memphis and bluegrass musician, which is like a trifecta of things that McKenzie loves. The way McKenzie gets enthusiastic about the things that interest him makes them interesting to me, too. I don't dive in as deeply as he does in all things, but I appreciate his vast and thorough understanding of things many people never think about. I love asking him questions about logistics and details of the FedEx system, for example, or the ACBL, or highway and urban planning. He appreciates what is fascinating about all these things, and he shares it with me in a way that enriches me. I love that we connect that way.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm trying so hard and the ROI feels like it's diminishing. When do I know I'm done?

I can't let go as long as there's any inkling of hope. Every time I start to let myself let go, something stops me. Sometimes external, sometimes internal. I thought we were done just before my car accident. Then I thought the accident was a turning point. Now I realize it wasn't. It was just something that pulled us back from another cliff. What if I'd died? What if I'd been seriously injured and needed care for the rest of my life? Would McKenzie have been willing to be my caregiver? Even if I was incapacitated to the point where I could never have a meaningful conversation again, never resolve the shit we've been through? Honestly...I doubt it. And that thought sucks. A lot of my thoughts suck, actually.

McKenzie doesn't seem to believe I'm a good person. It's not that he thinks I'm bad, and he says he wants to believe I'm good, but the past weighs so heavily on his opinion of me. My past is shitty and I understand why it does. But it's so frustrating that I am working so hard and making real and positive progress and I feel like he doesn't see it. He says he recognizes and appreciates the work I've done, but then he also says things that indicate that he doesn't think I've changed much at all. Or the big changes I've made are still so far from what he needs from me. I know I'm better than he thinks I am. I know I deserve a partner who thinks I'm awesome. But what we're going through right now is really harming my self esteem. The more my own self worth plummets, the harder it is for me to tell myself I deserve better and release myself from this spiral of fear and worry.

In spite of all this shit, though, I know we can be a great couple. I know a lot of ways that we already are a great couple. I love my husband tremendously and I know he loves me. But we keep missing and I don't know how much longer I can live with this kind of pressure and misery and frustration. Something big has to change. But what, and how? It feels like the obvious answer is that we break up. But for some reason we can't. The fact that neither of us wants to has to be good for something, right?

I hate this. I'm trying, though.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
A friend of mine posted "RIP Joan Rivers" on Facebook. I commented "Hey, she died doing what she loved -- getting plastic surgery." Apparently it wasn't plastic surgery, or whatever, let's just leave the "plastic" part out. Anyway...people aren't loving my comment. In my opinion, it's exactly the kind of joke she would've made. An homage, right? Whatever. People don't get me.

McKenzie and I finalized our lists of what we want in a partner. We have therapy tomorrow (online, since he's in Memphis), so we decided to share our lists with each other tonight. We sorted them by "mandatory," "strongly preferred," and "wanted." Under "wanted," he put lots of things, one of which was "not a vegetarian." I was really hurt to read that. I mean I get he would be more fulfilled if he could share his favorite foods with his partner, or if his partner would prepare his favorite foods, and he's entitled to want what he wants, but it hurts my feelings a lot that this is something he cares about. I've been a vegetarian for 23 years. I'm not an asshole about it and I don't care what anyone around me eats (as long as it's not bananas. Keep those disgusting things far, far away from me.), but even though I'm not shouting it from the rooftop or proseletyzing vegetarianism, it's still very important to me that I am a vegetarian. On the one hand, I feel like it shouldn't matter. Then I also feel like he took this characteristic that is neutral at worst, that I hold dear and value in myself, and said "I don't want that." I know it's not something to get too upset about, and I am capable of seeing the big picture here and recognizing that this doesn't really register. But it still hurt. I do feel like I match all of his mandatory qualities and most of his others. Notable exceptions are that I'm not tidy, I'm not particularly sexually adventurous, and I don't cook. I can certainly see how these qualities would be dealbreakers for a lot of people, and I don't want to be with those people, so I was pleased to see that I basically measured up. But McKenzie said that doing this exercise "taught him a lot about himself," and every time he says that, it seems to be code for "made me realize I don't want to be married to you." He says that's not it, but he hasn't learned so much that he's found a way to be happy and want me, either. I often feel like the more work we do on our relationship, the more comfortable he gets with the idea of breaking up, whereas I was ready for that months ago, but now I'm investing myself deeper each day. I told him that it feels like I'm being set up for a tremendous and devastating heartbreak. I know he's not doing that to me on purpose, but I'm deeply afraid that it is the reality of our situation anyway. I hate this so much. I wish I could have just a few moments of peace of mind, where I'm not terrified that the love of my life is going to decide he doesn't want me, or that we'll go on being perpetually unhappy because we can't pull the plug, or I'm afraid of every emotion that comes because everything is just bursting and pulling me in conflicting directions and I JUST WANT A BREAK FROM FEELING THIS WAY ALL THE TIME.

No, that's not true. I don't ever want to feel this way again, ever. I need more than a break. But right now, I will accept a break. A few moments of conscious thought that are not laced with worry and fear.

I want to shake some sense into McKenzie. The person that meets all the criteria on his list does not exist. (He does know this.) If it's just a matter of accounting, he can look at his spreadsheet and do the math and see that I'm about 90% of his dream girl. And I want to be poly so it's not like I'm telling him he can't have the other 10%, either. Or another 90% girl. Or whatever. But I know that no one on this planet knows him like I do. I really doubt there exists another person whose humor and wit so closely match and complement his. It's the feature that stands out so much to me when I think about life without him. I just know there is no other human on the planet who is the same combination of smart, funny, and just the right kind of offensive. And those characteristics in McKenzie and me are a place where we are a perfect match. They don't trump everything else, but god damn, they're important, and I don't think either of us will find anything like it anywhere else. And life without that? Shit. It's depressing to even imagine. I never had it before, and it's what makes my connection to McKenzie so much deeper than any other I've ever experienced. I'm terrified of losing him. A few months ago, I knew breaking up would suck, but I was also prepared to move on. I've done so much work on everything in the relationship, though, that I'm light years removed from "prepared to move on." I'm prepared for things to change. They're changing every day. But I'm not prepared to lose my husband. I don't know that I am losing him, but it feels like it, and I'm more scared than ever.

I'll be okay. Some things are really good. There is joy in my life every day. I know it gets better. I'm putting in the work; it'll pay off one way or another. But motherfucking motherfucker, I'm exhausted.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've had a sore neck and a headache all day, but other than that nagging pain, I've been getting around just fine. Shanon and Sloane came by to check on me in the morning, so I got some much-needed baby cuddles. McKenzie stayed home with me for the day to help me take care of other errands, like retrieving our things from the car at the tow yard. I took some pictures of it when I got there...I was worried it would be an awful trigger to see it (for either me or McKenzie), or to even drive by the scene of the accident on 26, which I did three times today, but it didn't bother me as much as I expected. Here's what the car looks like now:

It's nice that I'm familiar with auto claims, because I know exactly how the process goes and what I need to do. I'm way ahead of the game, and I found out that the other guy's insurer has an office in the same complex as mine, so I can even follow up in person if I want. I'm thinking it might be beneficial to me if they know I work in claims. They at least won't try to fuck with me. And hopefully they'll appreciate that I got a killer price on the rental car I'm charging them for, and I've already signed over the title for the total loss, so they don't have to pay the tow yard to store my vehicle while I get my act together on that. Basically I've done most of their job for them, and they haven't even seen the claim yet because it's a weekend.

McKenzie helped me get groceries for the week -- lifting isn't fun right now, so it was helpful to have him schlep all that stuff. Then we went to pick up my rental car. I should get to keep it until the total loss is settled, which, again, will be pretty speedy and will save the insurance company even more money for the rental car...the physical damage side of the loss is where I'm their dream claimant. The bodily injury claim, though, I'm a nightmare, because they know they can't dick me around. BI claims generally take forever to settle and often involve lawyers. I'm not going to hire a lawyer because I know how to negotiate it myself without handing over 40% of the settlement. But it'll probably be a long time before that part of the claim is closed, because first I have to determine either that my injuries are healed or that I'm comfortable accepting a settlement in exchange for a release of the claim, meaning I take their offer but sign away my right to ask for them to pay for future treatment. Soft tissue injuries are a bitch because they can persist indefinitely and there's no real way to treat them. You can get massage or chiropractic, but it's not like something's broken that you can just put back together. A lot of people have lifelong side effects from accidents like this. Usually it's nothing terribly serious or debilitating, but obviously I want to rule that out before I decide I'm done with the claim...either that or demand a huge fucking settlement so I can pay for treatment for the rest of my life. Anyway.

After running our errands, we went on a long walk through the neighborhood. The NP advised that I shouldn't run or lift weights until I'm feeling healed, but that I should definitely stay active to keep from getting too stiff. We walked around Aloha for about an hour, then came home and enjoyed a lovely nap. I went to games in the Pearl, and McKenzie drove on back to Oly from there. I didn't *need* him here for any of the things I did today, but I'm really, really grateful that he was here. Going through this trauma together has been a good thing for our relationship, imo. We'd been fighting and bickering so much lately, and were both so frustrated, but this sort of thing really clears away all the stupid insignificant shit and I feel like it brought our care for one another back into focus where it belongs. It didn't solve all our problems, but it put us in a much better position. Also, McKenzie loves the fact that I had a "rear-end accident." See it's funny because it's like saying I pooped in my pants. I swear to FSM that poop is the glue that holds our marriage together.

Time to pop some painkillers and get some snoozes. I know the car looks awful up there but I'm doing much better than you would think.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Things today got worse before they got better. Shit, you guys, it's been rough. People have been there for me, though. I appreciate that. I appreciate that people are understanding about the shit I'm going through, and sometimes I will be crying at my desk, and my coworkers no longer make a big deal of this. They understand, they are there for me, but they don't have to acknowledge it, which is helpful. It always makes me cry more when someone says "what's wrong?" But it was one of those days where I was again that girl who cries at her desk.

Z and I had an emergency phone session with our therapist this evening, because I was just at my wits' end. I don't need to go into all the details here, because that's why we therapy, but basically I've been feeling like my value to Z has been measured by weighing a good day against seven bad years. We've had long strings of really good days, and the bad wouldn't be half so bad if it weren't shrouded in fear that the future will be like the past. There's so much hedging and self-preservation at the expense of faith in one another...it sucks. It makes it hard to mend, or rebuild, or reboot, or whatever you want to say we're doing. I think tonight's session was helpful, and we have some homework to do before our next one. We are supposed to make lists of what we want in our partner. Not what we want from the other person, just what we want in a partner. Maybe I'll do that here. Just thinking about it, though, my list is so fluid. For instance, I don't need or require a partner who plays games. I love games, and if partner plays with me, cool!, but I also have friends that more than meet that need. So I don't need it in a partner. I love the Blazers. It'd be cool to have a partner who was into the Blazers, or who could at least have the occasional conversation about them or tolerate my superfandom, but honestly I don't give a flying fuck how a single other person on the planet feels about the Blazers -- with the exception of the team members and executives, I suppose. I want to share things with a partner, sure, but the specific things don't matter. The bottom line here, I guess, is that I want a partner who loves me for who I am, who can engage me in my passions, or who is cool with me sharing those passions with others. I guess, what's the difference between partner and friend? I want good sex with a partner. I want someone who will put up with my constant flatulence -- someone I don't have to hold it in for, y'know? So, er, yeah, sexy sex and free-form farts. And alliteration. These are my partnership preferences. (Ideally it helps a lot if you get my sense of humor, which is in fact a requirement in a partner, but also kind of a requirement in friendship...so again, really it comes down to sex and how bad I can allow myself to stink when we're together...romantic.)

So anyway. I'll work more on those thoughts later, but for now the plan is to make sure my weekend is awesome. Here's what's on the table so far: wake up and go to a Body Pump class at 8am, come home, sleep more if I feel like it, shower, head downtown and get a food cart lunch, then transit to Blitz Ladd for the Hokie game. After that, I'll come back to Beaverton, perhaps stopping at Chez Middendorf to help with some demolition. And by demolition I mean tearing up carpets and painting walls. So not a lot of demo. Still. Ripping shit up should be fun. Sunday I'll go for a run, be useful to friends wherever possible, and then attend games in the evening. Probably stopping at the food carts for dinner on the way to that, too. Monday I have a game date with David, whom I haven't seen in way too long, and another Body Pump class. I will fill the gaps in these days with work on real estate, extra naptimes, and probably more trips to the food carts. Because food carts.

Make stuff. Accomplish stuff. Rest. Play. Eat noms. Less wallowing.

Also tomorrow is Z's 35th birthday, and I'd really like to give him a happier wife as a gift. We'll see.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm back at work after a really fabulous overnight trip to Central Oregon with Z on Monday/Tuesday. I'd been wanting to go back to the McKenzie Pass for literally YEARS, since the first time I went, it was beautiful but too cloudy to see any of the mountain views. The pass is closed most of the year, and it's a long drive from Portland, so getting there isn't super convenient, but I finally nagged my husband about it enough to plan a getaway. I'd read in some BEST HIKES EVER article about Tamolitch Pool in Central Oregon, and it turns out that it's pretty near the Pass, so that was the first thing on our trip agenda. Holy shit, you guys, it's amazing.

Tamolitch
Just look how blue that is! That water looks like it's just a few feet deep, but it's actually 30-40 feet deep. This is where the McKenzie River emerges from underground -- there's a big cave under the rocks to the left. The water in the pool looks totally still, but just to the right of the frame, it's rushing out, being the river that it is. The hike to the cliff here was pretty easy -- 2 miles, mostly flat -- but to get down to the water where those people are, you basically have to rock climb. It took us a really long time just to find something that looked like a path down, but we eventually got down to the water's edge. We put our feet in, but only for about a second, because HOLY SHIT it's piercingly cold. The water is 37 degrees. If it had been a more strenuous hike, maybe the cold would've felt good, but I don't know how hot I'd have to be for that to feel refreshing. I did the ice bucket challenge just the day before and that was CHILD'S PLAY compared to putting my toes in this water.

Anyway it was a beautiful day for hiking, and Oregon continues to dazzle me with its natural beauty.

After Tamolitch Pool, we drove on further up the Pass and stopped for a short hike at Proxy Falls. There are two sets of falls and a whole bunch of lava beds there, and I'm sure that hike would've impressed the shit out of me had I not just come from the previous one. As it was, it was beautiful, but kind of meh in comparison.

Our last hiking stop of the day was at the top of the McKenzie Pass, at Dee Wright Observatory. The summit of the Pass is an expansive field of lava beds from an eruption 360,000 years ago. The landscape is like being on the surface of another planet. From there, you can see Cascade peaks in 360 degrees. It was a clear day, and the views we got were absolutely breathtaking. I imagine it's even more stunning in the winter when all the peaks are white with snow, but you can't get there that time of year. Anyway I loved it.

We continued down the other side of the mountain range and stayed the night in Redmond, then did another hike along the Deschutes before taking off the next morning. I could not keep my eyes open on the drive back, which was a shame, because we drove through some beautiful parts of the wilderness, but I slept most of the way. I think Z was a little disappointed about that, and I am, too, but it sure felt good to sleep...

We got back to Portland in the late afternoon and had our first counseling session in about six weeks -- I hope we never go this long between sessions again. Counseling is good for us, but we were way overdue for some maintenance work. It was a difficult session. We've been all over the map emotionally the last few weeks, and I think more regular counseling will keep us more level...I think we're in a good place right now, mostly...but it's hard. It remains the biggest challenge I've ever faced, but I'm proud of the progress I've made and the work I continue to do. I think McKenzie feels the same way, but he is less hopeful than I am, which is very hard. Anyway. It's going reasonably well, but it's not smooth. We're doing our best. This mini-vacation was really, really good for both of us.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Two nights ago, Z and I sat outside with our neighbors, drinking and socializing. It was the first time he ever did that, and the first time I'd joined them in a while. We brought a bottle of cake vodka, and somehow it was empty within a couple of hours. We shared some of it, but apparently I was responsible for most of its disappearance. I enjoyed a few hours of being very happily drunk, but in the snap of a finger, it went from happy happy joy joy to omfg you are too old for this shit go lie down right now and think about what you've done! I wasn't blacked out or passed out, but I was no longer capable of uprightness.

After a few minutes of trying to gain some form of composure, I got Z to help me up the stairs and into bed. As he was tucking me in, he handed me my advanced kakuro puzzle book. I usually work on these before I fall asleep, but jtfc, a little ambitious for someone who needs to be carried up the stairs while slurring her speech and keeping her eyes closed because everything is spinning, no? I tossed the book aside and fell asleep relatively quickly around midnight.

At 3am, I woke up in the throes of a painful hangover. I thought this shit usually waited until morning like a decent kind of nuisance, but this one was all about efficiency. I never got sick; I was just in lots and lots of pain. I gave up on falling back asleep until it passed, so I took some painkillers and got back in bed with my laptop. My activity woke Z up, and he watched vugraph while I waited for the pain to subside enough to fall back asleep. It took a few hours, but I finally did get back to snoozing. Maybe around 6? Anyway I woke up again at 9, feeling totally fine and decently rested. I was then glad that the hangover had come and finished its business when it had. Z was already awake at that point, so I convinced him to go for a run with me before it got too hot. We did 3.7 miles from our house, through the park to the visitors' center and back. We didn't know the distance until we got home and mapped it, though. We were pretty proud of ourselves :)

From there we both got on about our days...it was a largely uneventful Sunday, though several times McKenzie complained in passing that he'd slept very poorly and was tired. He never blamed me, though duh, it was definitely because of me...I apologized and he brushed off my sorries, but I still felt guilty about it. Last night I made sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour, because he has to wake up early and drive to Seattle, and I wanted him to be well rested for that.

Karma can be kind of a biotch, though. At 4am, my bladder woke me up. Normally when this happens, it takes a little bit of Netflix to help me get back to sleep. Z hates that I leave the computer/TV shows on as I snooze because it keeps him up. I decided to try to get back to sleep without it this morning so as not to disturb his slumber. But then he started snoring. He's been sawing logs like a fucking lumberjacking world champion for nearly an hour now. It makes me wonder -- how has snoring not been evolutionarily snuffed out? I mean, I love my husband and still want to be married to him, and will work around this issue (though it is admittedly easier for me since we spend so few nights actually together), but back when humans were just developing and didn't have mushy feelings, wouldn't the partner of a snorer just be like FUCK THIS and move on? I know it's not necessarily a genetic thing, but still. Nature has ways of eliminating things that get in the way of our basic needs, right?

All this is to say that my husband's snoring is keeping me up in this 4am (now almost 5) hour, but I know I deserve it because I was a drunken fool yesterday. Complaining definitely helps, though.

Full disclosure: I definitely snore, too. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
One more day between me and Falcon Ridge. And since I'm such an expert procrastinator, I have a buttload of stuff to do. So even though my flight is at 6am, I'll probably be up late tonight doing laundry and packing and shopping and all that. Oh well. I'll sleep on the plane and have a rollicking good time when I get there so it's all good.

I was going to wake up at 4:50 today and go for another early morning run, but I decided against that when I didn't get to bed until 11 last night. It was my MIL's birthday and I was down in Salem anyway to get my hair done, so I took her out to dinner and ended up staying down there until much later than I'd intended to. It was a nice time, though. No regrets. Just sleepiness.

I had intended to get the blonde streak in front widened a little bit, but the dye we used ended up bleeding into it and it only made sense to just purple it all up. I'm pleased with the outcome, though. This is definitely the brightest it's ever been.

purps

My hair is starting to get a little angry with me for all the treatments I've been giving it, though, so this may be my last hurrah with color for a while. We'll see. I have decided I'm growing it out for a while, but I may get bored or find that it's too damaged and need to cut it anyway. I kind of hate this medium length -- when it's really long or really short, it's SO EASY. I can just wash it and let it dry naturally and it curls all wildly but it looks good. When I let it do that at this length, it just looks like I've been in a fight or something. But as long as I straighten it, it looks good. That just takes so much tiiiiiime.

Speaking of time... It's crazy how things that used to seem FOREVER away are upon us now. I feel like I've been saying "my parents have been married for almost 50 years" for my entire adult life -- and now we're actually going on a trip to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Falcon Ridge always feels like it's infinitely far in the future, yet it manages to roll around each year. By the end of the week, it feels like it flew by. I'm leaving for these trips in the morning. There are other ways that time is dragging right now, though, and will likely continue to do so for a while. But even these stretches will one day be past. In a lot of ways, I feel like I am likely to look back on 2014 as the longest year of my life. I started the year training for a half marathon, which is enough to make anyone's life drag a bit, and then when I met that goal, the rest of my life was well into upheaval, and the fallout from that continues. I'm dealing with it reasonably well, but there are still so many questions. It's difficult to face the future with as much uncertainty as I have. McKenzie and I are talking a lot about career advancement for the both of us, and what that means for our marriage (it's good! exciting!), but at the same time, are we staying married? It feels like yes, but we are both all too aware that no is a possibility, too. We are making a lot of future plans for a future we don't know we'll share. I think and I hope that we will, but it's so strange that this caveat is at the front of all these ideas. But the point is, it feels like it's taking forever -- and I bet one day it will be a distant memory. I can't even begin to imagine what that future version of myself is doing.

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Meg

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