Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sneaky Sneaky

My father-in-law had asked to join my husband and son on a boat excursion on Saturday. My husband asked me about it 3 times last week, and each time I said no.

It's not that I want to keep them apart for the sake of keeping them apart. I have said for 2 years that he needs to get counseling prior to spending time with our children. I even told my husband he could meet with his AA sponsor about it, as I feel he has a very good grasp on family and children.

But, instead, my father-in-law just continues to ask about seeing the kids, and continues to treat me like dog shit, and then has the expectation that he should be able to see the kids just because he is their grandpa.

So, I was out on a girls-day with my daughter, when I received a text from my husband informing me that his father had shown up anyway for the boat ride. And, our son already had his life jacket on and was excited about the trip.

He said that the men in their group had asked him again about going and he was embarrassed to say that he was not allowed to see his grandson.

I wondered if he considered that I might have had a different reaction, and how embarrassing that would have been for him.

But I decided to just let it be and enjoy my day with my daughter.

My son is a smart kid and there was not much harm that could be done on a jet boat.

He did offer my son some money several times. J. declined.

My father-in-law just celebrated 25-years of sobriety. Apparently, he chaired the meeting and spoke about humility. I find that very ironic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Year in Alanon

I committed to attend 6 months worth of Alanon meetings while I was at Family Week at Betty Ford. I committed to myself that I would go for a year.

I do not think I will continue to go back on a weekly basis, as it seems time is short now that I am a single working mother. But I haven't ruled it out on an as-needed basis.

The literature in particular has been very helpful to me. Several of the slogans are also great.

"Life on life's terms."

"Take what you like - leave the rest!"

"Life is a package deal."

"The three C's: You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, you can't control it."

What I think was the most helpful to me was attending week after week and seeing patterns. It seems both the alcoholic (sober or not) and the co-dependent have marked personality traits.

I saw the same people come to the meeting week after week. Some people got better, and others did not. Many people cried or complained every week about the same thing. The one thing I really noticed is while, recovery for the co-dependent is mostly about the co-dependent getting better, people who stayed in relationship with the alcoholic never seemed to get all that better. The same frustrations kept surfacing, even though they perhaps had better tools to deal with them.

It's easy to say just leave the alcoholic in your life. This is probably easier when it is your spouse, than when the addict is your parent or your child. But honestly, I did not see as much recovery for people who chose to stay with the alcoholic, sober or not. I saw a lot of recovery from the people who chose to leave.

I saw a lot of generational abuse of alcohol and drugs. My own thoughts after listening to a lot of this is that children model the behavior of their parents. I did see some interesting research about genetics while I was at Betty Ford. But overall, after being around this for the last 7-8 years with my husband and being at Alanon meetings, I have to say that I think that this is learned behavior, mostly.

The saddest thing I saw was people who had children who were addicts. Sadder still were people who had lost these children. I did not see anyone fully recover from that. That is one reason I really firmed my resolve for my own children. I know this is a touchy subject, but I do believe there are things you can do that at least help your children become less at risk for this "disease." I'd like to research that more fully. But I do think I heard a lot of people talk about their lives and their regrets over the course of a year and there are things I have filed in my head.

One thing I really liked about Alanon is that no one is supposed to tell you what to do. I think this really helps because oftentimes when someone tells you what to do, you want to do the exact opposite. I think listening to people week after week really helped me develop my own informed opinion about what would work best for me in my own life.

Overall, I am very grateful for this program. I think it has been a good use of my time. I will say though that I believe in the law of attraction. That is, your life becomes more of what you focus on.

And I am tired of focusing on the alcoholic in my life. I am ready to focus on the positive aspects. I believe I have learned more of what has brought me into that relationship through Alanon, other reading, counseling and introspection.

I have noticed that several of the people I know who had serious drug and alcohol problems and then completely moved away from that and DID NOT retain the typical dry drunk characteristics that you usually see did not ever attend AA meetings. They used either church or Islam for their recovery. That is something else I would like to further look into, with Alanon as well. I have said this before, but I think after all these years, there should be more than just AA and Alanon, or at least more progress within those groups.

There are still far too many serious consequences to alcoholism and addiction for us to not begin to take this more seriously.

Ojibway Prayer

We had Native American Sunday today at church and I really liked this prayer:

Grandfather-Grandmother, look at our brokenness. We know that in all creation only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way. We know that we are the ones who are divided and we are the ones who must come back together to walk in the Sacred Way. Grandfather, Grandmother, Sacred One, teach us love, compassion, and honor that we may heal the earth and heal each other.

- Ojibway Prayer

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"The Prophet said that women
totally dominate men of intellect and possessors of hearts,
But ignorant men dominate women,
for they are shackled by the ferocity of animals."


Friday, September 25, 2009

Children Model Your Behavior

I was very curious to watch Mackenzie Phillips on Oprah. I have mentioned here that I always DVR her show and watch it later. This show was of particular interest to me because of her family's drug history.

What I took away from it was something I have always thought. CHILDREN MODEL YOUR BEHAVIOR. When you have your children roll your joints for you, what else can they possibly become except drug addicts? When your kids try your cocaine that you leave out in a bowl when they are 11-years-old and you teach your kids how to shoot up at 16, what else can you expect?

I have very similar frustrations with my husband's family, except that his family seems to be surprised by his addiction. In Ms. Phillips case, they seem to be proud of it.

My husband was given beer by his father as a child, and then, surprise, surprise, he became an alcoholic. His mother used to buy him beer as a teenager. The unhealthy behaviors they both modeled are the same behaviors that I now have to deal with.

I have a real problem with all of this. A real problem. Because his addictions have cause me and my children some real grief and there has been no attempt on any of their part to heal any of that.

You don't give children drugs or alcohol. That is also breeding ground for sexual abuse of all kinds to occur.

What surprises me, is their surprise (and anger) at why I don't want my kids around them when they have made no attempts to make any sort of changes. I have told my husband for years if his father wants to see the kids, he needs to get counseling. Has he done it? NO! But 3 times this week, I have been asked about him seeing the kids.

What the hell is that about?

My kids are precious. I am not letting them around just anyone. I did not bring them into this world to be broken by people who have an obvious disregard for life.

Addiction is generational, in my opinion, because no one steps forward to break the cycle. No one says, this is not acceptable.

I was very proud of Ms. Phillips for stepping forward and telling her story. It took courage. I just hope she stays sober. But somehow, this time, I think she will - because she has finally told her truth.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

I have been slowly renting all the Tyler Perry movies I can get my hands on, and this was one of my favorites. My kids and I have both grown to love Madea. Not only is she hysterically funny, but there is a lot of truth in these movies. I found myself sobbing at this one. It hit pretty close to home. My house isn't nearly that nice, but I recognized myself in the lifestyle trap of the main character (the mad black woman!). I also saw my own bitterness and anger at my situation. I have been trying to get past that through various methods. I noticed at church the other week when we were reciting the Lord's Prayer, that my voice sort of caught on the part about "as we forgive those who trespass against us..." So I have been going back to some of my old standbys like the Tao and You can heal your life. But somehow I think the mixture of the hysterical laughter and the sobs did more for me than any of that has lately.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hope for Today

A new friend emailed this to me and I decided to post it. Need to get back to reading these on a daily basis - they do help!

December 31 from Hope For Today (Alanon publication)

At my first Al-Anon meeting, I felt like a parched person drinking cold, refreshing water. With gratitude I took in the words of the Suggested Welcome and Closing. Every time I went to a meeting I'd close my eyes and let those precious words refresh me.

Years later I realized I was listening to Al-Anon's words of hope -- hope I could claim as my own, if I was willing to work the Steps. When I felt boxed in by despair, you assured me that no situation is really hopeless and I could find contentment, and even happiness, despite my alcoholic's drinking. When I felt worn out from replaying awful scenarios in my mind, you told me I could put my problems in their true perspective and they would lose their power to dominate. When I felt alone, you reminded me I wasn't. You pointed out my choices when all I knew were rules and appearances. I didn't have to agree to belong. I could take what I liked and leave the rest.

You even claimed that you already loved me in a special way, even tough I hated myself, and that I would learn to love you, too. You offered me sponsorship, hugs, and phone numbers even when I hadn't "earned" them. I didn't know what a loving interchange was, and you took the time to show me.

Thanks, Al-Anon, for the persistent repetition of these hope-filled words and actions. Gradually they came true for me. Now when I share them with others, I have the joy of seeing them come alive again.


When I count my blesings, I remember to count Al-Anon's gift of hope.

"If you try to keep an open mind, you will find help. you will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened."
Suggested Al-Anon/Alateen Closing

Someone Should Start Laughing

"If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!

Someone should start wildly Laughing -


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I have not felt like writing much.

I got my first set of divorce papers in the mail on Saturday. It was not the settlement I had been promised, but it's a start.

Part of me is very happy to move on and part of me is sad about the life I thought I'd have that never transpired.

Need to get over that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


My mom has been helping me pick up the kids from school nearly every day. The other day, J. came home with a new martial arts poster. He is working on getting his next belt after orange, and I am very proud of all he has accomplished in class. He recently brought home an Outstanding Achievement Award and a coupon for a free pizza. He insisted on going to get the pizza right then, LOL. I really loved what he picked out for his poster.


"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who controls himself is mightier still." - Lao Tzu.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I hit a pole

I have been up most of the week with my daughter and my own sickness. I am really tired and angry. I have been dealing with my husband on the premise that you get what you give. And I have been giving and giving and giving. Another saying I remember someone telling me, that I took on wholeheartedly, is you can't out give the universe.

There has never been a night in 7+ years where my husband has got up with the kids. There has never been a day where they were sick, and he stayed home with them. Even when he was not working. There has never been a dime that I did not work my ass off for that was not 100% for my family. Even when I had to cash in retirement accounts, I did it. Because I would never let my children suffer.

I should have sent his ass to work. I should have filed for child support when my son was born.

I do not deserve to be in the situation I am in. I do not deserve it.

When I tell people that my husband has told me that I have not been supportive of him, they look at my like I am crazy. How much support could you have possibly given him? Two rehabs? WTF?

When I tell people that my husband says he only has a felony cocaine conviction because of me, they say, what?? Did you buy the cocaine and stuff it up his nose?

His thinking is so distorted.

For him to think that he can somehow control me by cutting off nearly all financial support? Well that is bull shit. That is abuse. That is just sickening.

And that is a pattern.

I just got so mad while I was talking about him that I hit the gas in drive instead of reverse and smashed my car into a pole. Thankfully, I was alone.

I can not talk to him anymore. He is a poison snake.

He is an exact replica of his father, and I am sure he is very proud of himself right now.

The day my divorce is finalized will be the happiest day of my life. I never, never should have married that man. I never should have even been with him in the first place.

Get off my Ass!!!

I tape Oprah every day on my DVR. I don't have much time for TV, but if it's a good show, I watch it - and most of her shows are good. Yesterday she had Dr. Phil on. I'm not a huge fan, but I'm sick, so I watched it anyway. He's a little too abrasive for me. (Ironically, my in-laws LOVE him!) But the show was worth it for this one quote - which I thought was great!

"You know what I wish every abused person in America would do? I wish they would stand up and say if you had a bad childhood, get over it. If you need therapy find it. But get off my ass!"

Dr Phil

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just for Today

I was up most of the night with my daughter. Both of us are sick again, and exhausted. She coughed through the night and had a horrible fever. I was so worried, because the next day I had promised to go on my son's Insect Safari field trip, and I did not want to break my promise to him to be there.

The day before my mom told me she wanted me to consider her as my partner and not hestitate to ask for help. I can not begin to thank my mom for all she does, day-in, day-out to help with my kids. Raising kids is not a one-person job. I don't believe it has to be a man-woman job, but I do think it takes at least 2 people.

I have been so grateful for all the friends who have stepped in to help me with my kids. Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed, but then I get an email or a card from someone. Or yesterday my friend T sent her camera (mine got lost) and some clothes. I was so excited to have some new things to wear! I have not had a budget that allows for buying new clothes for a while now, and I have also been gaining weight so a lot of my things are tight. It's those little things that get me through.

The other day I pulled out the photo albums and felt so grateful for all the wonderful people in our lives. I have truly been blessed with some wonderful friends and family.

But that said, I am really, really tired today. My daughter, LOL, popped right up out of bed at 6:30 and announced, "I'm ready to get up now!"

She was completely better! Her fever had broke and she was ordering me around the house (which was probably good today because I was sick and tired!).

I am hoping to take it easy the next few days and get better. My perspective is so much brighter when I am rested and well. I enjoyed my son's field trip so much. But coming back to the office was a let down. I'm having a hard time concentrating. There are so many things that I wish were different right now. But they are not. So for today, I will just do the best I can.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ADHD and Addiction

My mom sent me this article and I decided to post it because I found it very interesting. It seems like many alcoholics and cocaine-addicts also have ADHD. I have been reading about this connection for a while now and urging my husband to take meds (even though I am anti-meds in general). From what I can tell, addicts who take these meds have a lesser chance of relapsing. Some of this information is addressed below and the article itself had a lot of interesting comments if you want to google it. I would be very interested to read about what effects these drugs have on children in the future - ie, are they more apt to be addicts? Seems like there are lots of questions to be answered here - but this is a start. I welcome your comments!

Now we know why Ritalin works
By Dana Blankenhorn | Sep 9, 2009

Why do stimulants like Ritalin turn ADHD kids normal but turn normal kids into hopped-up screaming meamies?

Turns out it’s all about the dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It passes signals between cells in your brain. Good signals.

Think of it as a chemical “attaboy.” It is well known as a precursor to adrenaline, and Arvid Carlsson won the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine for finding this other role.

Recently scientists at the Brookhaven National Lab gave 53 ADHD people and 44 controls a radioactive tracer that would “light up” dopamine receptors and transporters under a PET scanner.

What they found was the ADHD people had fewer of these cells, meaning our brains are less capable of processing dopamine, the chemical “attaboy,” than other people. It’s all gone into the Journal of the American Medical Association.

If you don’t have many cells that process dopamine, the best way to get a healthy dose in your brain is to flood it with chemicals that produce dopamine. Stimulants. That’s why Ritalin and Adderall help ADHD kids. These same chemicals overstimulate a brain with a normal load of dopamine receptors, which is why your kid just gets high on them.

But the study also explains a lot more. Eating stimulates dopamine, so fat ADHDers are self-medicating in the same way as their cousins who try benzedrine or other drugs. So does exercise, which may be why Michael Phelps stays in the pool all day.

This may also be why ADHD “poster boy” Robin Williams reported that, when he used cocaine, he felt quiet, normal, and sane. Cocaine also stimulates dopamine. This may also be why he later became an alchoholic. Alcohol helps stimulate the natural release of dopamine.

This may also be part of what drove Williams to be a comic and actor. Loud applause stimulates dopamine. It may explain why so many other ADHDers are so ambitious, so driven to succeed at their passions. We need more real attaboys to stimulate our limited dopamine receptors.

As an ADHD kid myself, and father to two more, this may also explain something I have found troubling my whole life. I don’t react well to praise. Tell me you like this article and I may just shrug it off. Tell me you hate it and we can have a good argument — well an argument at any rate. Praise doesn’t give me the hit it gives you — I need a lot of it to feel it.

So while some are going to take this study as offering a simple chemical solution to ADHD (more dopamine) I believe therapy is still highly recommended. The real answer lies in self-awareness, using ADHD’s gifts to concentrate and create, while being aware of its downsides and treating yourself more gently as a result.

Word to my fellow ADHDers, of any age, wherever you are. You may not hear the applause, and you may not feel it, but it’s there if you work hard and listen closely.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Didn't Know My Own Strength

I loved the Whitney Houston interview with Oprah that has aired over the last 2 days. I grew up listening to her and I have often wondered how she lost her way. I thought it was a beautiful and illuminating interview - and I loved the song she sang at the end.

Lost touch with my soul
I had no where to turn
I had no where to go
Lost sight of my dream,
Thought it would be the end of me
I thought I’d never make it through
I had no hope to hold on to,
I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

Found hope in my heart,
I found the light to life
My way out of the dark
Found all that I need
Here inside of me
I thought I’d never find my way
I thought I’d never lift that weight
I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

There were so many times I
Wondered how I’d get through the night I
Thought took all I could take

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength


Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Rings

I am on my way to begin the process of selling my wedding rings. This has been a difficult decision for me and one I did not take lightly.

My husband proposed on Lake Washington 4 and a half years ago. We were celebrating our 3-year anniversary together. On the way up from Oregon, I remember asking him if he was ever going to marry me. We already had a son and he was just about to celebrate one-year of sobriety.

In many ways I felt I had let my family down by getting pregnant out of wedlock. I had already left my first husband and was suddenly at the right time for me to have a baby but I was not with the right person.

Early in my relationship with J., I became pregnant. It was a nightmare for me in almost everyway. Luckily, I did have an easy pregnancy but I remember so many sleepless nights crying my eyes out and waiting for J. to come home.

When we met, I was in my mid-twenties and still having a good time quite a bit myself. It was quickly apparent that he had a drinking problem once I stopped drinking. I wrote my future father-in-law a letter, shocked with my discovery. He told me I wasn't telling him anything he didn't already know.

In any case, we did stay together through most of that time and I was thrilled when he became sober about a year after our son was born.

The night before he proposed, we watched some corny wedding movie and I started crying about us never getting married.

Little did I know that the next day he had rented this beautiful old restored wooden boat for us with a picnic lunch and champagne for me. He got on one knee and produced a ring 3 diamonds, (past-present-future) totaling about 2.5 carats. It was much bigger than I had ever expected. It was the perfect proposal in every way, but it was not an indicator of the life to come for us.

On our wedding day he produced another surprise. A band consisting of another 4 carats. The two rings together were stunning. Once again, we had a perfect wedding. Everything went on without a hitch. Even my father-in-law was on good behavior. But all the happiness and pretty things surrounding that occassion were in no way indicative of the life we had together later.

For many years those rings have been sort of a security blanket for me. But I think big diamonds and beautiful jewelry can also mask other things. For a long time, everyone thought my husband was a "good guy" because he gave me pretty things. The over-the-top-ness of it all really covered up a lot of other BS. Being a good partner to someone has nothing to do with the gifts that you give them. Gifts are a nice perk, but they shouldn't overshadow everything else.

It was nice to hear a friend tell me several weeks ago - Hey, it's good to see you without your rings on. I think she saw it as a sign of my own inner strength.

I think it's easy to get up with diamonds and designer bags and shoes and let those things tell people who we are. They are an instant status boost. But when it comes down to it those things are really not who I am.

I remember a conversation with my sister several years ago where she told me I think you are the most misunderstood person I know. I'm deeper than what meets the eye. I have all these symbols that defy me.

But part of me is still sad to see the rings go. It is the last testament of a promise that was not kept. Or many promises that were not kept.

But the bottom line is I need the money now. So off I go to sell the rings.


One of my sisters sent me this poem, and I thought it was really great!


may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.

Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.

Only the curious have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.

A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.

By Alastair Reid

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dog Snatcher

There is so much to write about that I really don't know where to start. The fighting has escalated between my husband and me. There seems to be little peace. He is texting me 50-100 times a day, and calling at least 8-20 times. I have decided to ignore him. There is little good in responding at this point. I really don't have anything to respond back with that he can remotely understand or empathize with.

He refuses to give us any money, even when he promises he will. Only if something is dire, like the cable or electricity are about to be shut off, will he pay them directly. He thinks he is justified because he is paying (so far) for the kids private tuition. I suppose that makes all sorts of sense to him because it strokes his ego to know his kids are attending the best schools in our area - and he gets to socialize with all the rich people he cares so much about.

But what good is private school if you can't feed your kids or pay your basic bills? It makes no sense to me. I'm glad my kids can attend. I think education is important. But not like this. My husband seems to have gone completely mad.

I do not believe he has any intention of settling this peacefully or respectfully anymore, so I am going to get my own attorney. It will be worth it to me. I'm tired of being jerked around. And I think he is just dragging this out, thinking that I am going to be stupid enough to settle for whatever jacked-up proposal he sends me.

Yesterday, we were supposed to meet at our gym at 1pm. He called me after 1 and said he was running late. I continued my work out. (The kids were in the kids room, having fun, but waiting for their dad to pick them up). In any case, he started sending me nasty texts so I ignored him. I went to pick up the kids about an hour later and he had not showed up. The kids asked me why their dad didn't pick them up. I told them I didn't know. We went swimming. The nasty texts continued. Somewhere in there, my husband told me that he had taken our dog. Then he said he'd meet us and give him the dog. His mentality seemed to go something like this: I did not meet my obligation to meet the kids at 1pm. You won't reschedule, so I will take something that is vital and important to you so that you will have to meet me to get it.

His official reasoning was that it was hot outside. Well, it's a dog, a dog that has often been outside, without incident. My husband has never shown any concern for that dog before. In fact, when I was pregnant with our son, and threatened to leave him, he told me if I did, he would take the dog. And not because he cared about the dog. He said it because he knew it would hurt me.

Being pregnant with an alcoholic partner that sometimes does not bother to ever come home is pure hell. I remember crying myself to sleep many nights when I was pregnant. That dog was my only solace. At that point in my life I rarely called anyone for help. I would just sit there and cry and snuggle with our little dog until I fell asleep.

I remember that threat now so vividly and I wish I would have just left. It's the same bull shit now except there are two kids involved.

I think what my husband had in mind was to barter the kids with the dog. My daughter now uses the dog for solace. She walks around every room in the house carrying that dog. She adores him. He is her comfort, as he used to be mine.

I warned the kids before we arrived home that the dog would not be there. I was not about to give my husband the satisfaction of any emotional breakdowns from any of us. I thought my kids were OK, but last night, my daughter awoke around 4am with a nightmare about her dog being gone and woke us all up with her screaming and yelling. It took a while to get everyone back to sleep and then I laid there for about an hour before I could.

For my husband to take that dog was one of the most disturbing things he has done thus far. I told him he was lucky I did not call the police. That seemed to baffle him. He said we were lucky that the police didn't come and take the dog.

Well, that logic makes no sense to me. It's a small 5-lb dog that has wondered around the neighborhood like a cat the entire 5-years we have been here. The kids left the dog outside, yes. Ironically, we were in a rush to meet their father on time. We were only going to be gone a few hours and the dog just goes to the back and waits for us in the shade.

My husband brought the dog back today while we were at church. He was supposed to also bring a check for the 3rd day in a row, but had yet another excuse why he could not do that. I'm sick of his excuses. I'm sick of his distorted mind.

So I have told him to talk to my attorney if he needs to contact me. I am done.

My new schedule is crazy and I have been inclined to skip workouts and church, but I realized today that these are the things that I CAN NOT skip. They nurture my body, my soul and my mind.

So I am going to try to be more diligent about making time. I also signed up for teaching a few Sunday School lessons. I want to focus more on giving back. It seems like my husband sucks so much life out of me. I'm trying to fill up our lives with enriching things so that there is no time for him to detract from us.

I realized yesterday that he really brings nothing positive to the table for any of us. So we will see what a judge mandates in terms of visitations - but I am no longer going to go out of my way to make things easier for him. The days of me cooking him dinner or persuading the kids to talk to him on the phone are over.

The kids and I are going to stay focused on positive and enjoyable things for us.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Loving Madea

I saw Tyler Perry on the Oprah show about 6 months ago and was very impressed...but then I sort of forgot about renting his movies. A friend recommended the Madea movies to me and I am so grateful to have found them.

First of all, they are just hysterically funny and real. But I have never laughed so hard and then cried so hard, back and forth, throughout an entire movie.

The laughing part has been so good for me. It's been a great release with everything else that has been going on.

But I also have to say that I just LOVE Madea's character. She is such a strong woman and I have been so inspired by her to stop putting up with all my husband's bullshit.

My kids have even caught on and just love watching Madea in action.

They stayed up and watched the last movie (Madea's Family Reunion) with me and just laughed hysterically when Madea shows her granddaughters what to do about a man that beats his wife.

Cook a big pot of grits, bring him into the kitchen, then toss the grits on him. Then after you toss them, swat him with a frying pan. You gotta get you a good balanced weight, toss and swat, toss and swat, Venus and Serena, that's called grit ball.

We all laughed our heads off.

But she also said something that was so profound - and I wish I had the right words here to quote. (I tried to google them unsuccessfully and I already returned the movie). The words go something like this.

You can't help a woman that doesn't want to be helped. When a woman is tired of being abused, she will get out on her own.

Those words have been in my head for days now.

Thank you Madea!

In and Out of time

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids...
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there....
Mmmm...God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens....loudly screamed....
Trying to change our nightmares to dreams...
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.

- Maya Angelou

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ramadan went to Hell

All my aspirations for Ramadan went out the window.

I can't say that I'm angry at God, I just feel like what is the point? right now. I have thought about it being Ramadan every day, but I have not practiced my religion.

I have felt this way about Christianity at times too...letting my religion go completely out the window for years at a time. So I suppose someday it will come back to me, or maybe something else will. I'm just at the point where I have decided to let things go and let things happen.

It seems strange to feel this way, but that's how I feel. Islam means submission, and I in now way feel like submitting to anything or anyone right now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Investing in Myself

I have a lot of driving time now with the new schedule. I got to thinking this morning about my life. I have spent a lot of time investing in other people, especially in men that I have been in relationships with.

When I met my first husband, English was his third language, after coming here from Africa (Lebanon originally). He was still learning English. I taught him to read in English, spending hours on one or two pages in the beginning. I helped him start several businesses. I helped him get through college and get his American citizenship. We took care of a baby that was not ours for about a year.

I don't have any regrets about any of this. I think he was a sound investment and I will always treasure his friendship. He has done well for himself and I am proud of him.

But that said, I wonder why I have felt that I am not worthy of investment in myself??

And, why have I invested over 7 years in a relationship with someone who has done nothing to make his life - or my life - better? I should have been investing in myself and in my children.

And I hope if nothing else comes out of this that that is the lesson I really learn. Because financially I am coming out out of this much worse than I came into it. And I think life, while it has it's twists and turns, should keep getting better and better; always moving up, not sideways, and certainly not down, down, down.

This has been a long detour.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why aren't you making any money?

Today was my first "official" day back at work all day. Not that I have not been working. I have been. But I have also been taking care of two young children, a house and a husband that apparently doesn't give a fuck about any of us. I have always continued to work, as a mortgage broker, as I have for the last 12 years. I do not make the 6-figure salary I once made, but I have always contributed.

That said, I feel my most important contribution is raising my children. There is no value in that in my husband's family, but to me, that is the highest value.

Today was a difficult day to say the least. Not as difficult as yesterday, but difficult as hell. My daughter hates it when I leave her. She cries and holds on to my legs. I literally have to pick her up and pass her off to someone else so that I can walk out the door while she cries.

My new day will consist of getting up hours before what I would even like to think about and spending an hour-and-a-half driving both children to school before I start work. My husband will never understand what it takes to wake two young children up while it is dark out, get them cleaned up, dressed, fed, lunches packed and out the door on time to make 3 deadlines - 2 school start times, and one for me at work.

Never-the-less, my soon-to-be-ex-husband had the audacity to ask me, "Why aren't you making any money?"

Well, let me explain something.

As a mortgage broker, I get paid on commission. Only commission.

Once I get a call that someone wants a loan, I am lucky if that loan closes within 30-60 days. Then, I get paid on the loan, about half of what the loan fee is, within about a month.

I sent out a letter letting my clients and friends know that I am back to work full-time 2-3 weeks ago.

The reason I am back to work full-time instead of raising these kids like I should and would like to be doing is that my husband is a COMPLETE FUCK UP who quit working entirely for at least a year.

Was I working then?


I was working, doing everything around this house, and taking care of our children. And taking care of children that have emotional problems because of their fucked-up alcoholic father is completely different than taking care of children who have 2 parents at home who are functional human beings and both contribute to the relationship.

So I asked my husband, WHY HAVEN'T YOU BEEN MAKING ANY MONEY? YOU HAVE BEEN BACK AT WORK FULL-TIME SINCE JANUARY? (which is how long it took him to get his act together after coming back from 90+ days at Betty Ford and the Caron Center in September for him to go back to work and actually get a paycheck.

And then he said, "I don't want to argue."

Yeah, I bet. Because you have no more excuses for your sorry ass.

Then the pipe burst in our bathroom while the kids were taking their evening bath, and like last time, my husband is NO WHERE to be found. So the hot water squirted into my face and all over the floor and onto the kids. I had to have my 6-year-old-son hold down the faucet so I could put some clothes on and go outside and turn off the water supply to the entire house.

So now we have no water.

And to say I am PISSED OFF tonight, would be an understatement. To say that I still consider my husband the least bit of a man would be like saying pigs fly through my living room at night, smoking heroin and laughing their asses off.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i carry your heart with me

This is the poem that has been in my head as I put the kids into school full-time.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

- ee cummings

Accepting Change

Tomorrow is the start of school, and I can not sleep. I am very upset about my daughter starting school on an all-day basis. It just breaks my heart. I started thinking about the passage about acceptance and decided to post it again.

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could no stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes. " p448, The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous

I can accept that this is the best and only decision I have for my daughter right now. What is hard to accept is that it is the selfish actions of her father and his family that has brought us to this place. That I can't accept, and I don't know if I will ever be able to accept it.

My daughter is 3-years-old. We can never get this precious time back. I feel like it is being robbed from me. I feel like her happy little spirit is being robbed from her. And I am very, very angry about that.

Earlier today my husband wanted to stop by to get some things and I became upset. Why do we always have to change our plans to accommodate him? When does he ever accommodate us?

I told him not to come. I am tired of having my children's lives upset and turned upside down. I am tired of him pretending to be a father. I am tired of having anything at all to do with him.

His things have all been here for 5 months. There should be no sudden urgency about anything anymore. All he left us with is a bunch of old junk.

I know the passage about acceptance is right. I know it has worked for people. There is just very little I feel like accepting right now.

I re-watched Malcolm X the other day and thought there is a man who didn't live by the status quo or accept the bullshit that was handed to him. And, they killed him. Sometimes I wonder if life for the "successful" is just a puppet dance. Playing by someone else's rules that really don't work for you.

Somewhere in all of this I need to find what does work, for me, and for my children.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I had a dream about my in-laws last night. Just seeing them in a dream gets my heart rate up. We were all sitting down at a restaurant. My husband had not told me they were going to be there and I flipped out. It seemed very real to me. I have not seen my father-in-law with his wife there for 2 years now. I have no desire to see either of them again.

Today the kids and I are getting everything ready for school. My son has some homework to do and I have forms to fill out. I have been slowly going through the house and getting rid of junk. Today, I will go through both of the children's rooms with them.

We are trying to modify our mortgage through the new government program, but it doesn't seem to be much of a program. This process started in January, and no answer. Since I am a mortgage broker, I know this is not just my experience. Everyone I have referred to this program has still not been able to modify their mortgage. That is a pretty low success rate.

In any case, I am still hoping they can modify our mortgage and make it more affordable, someday soon. But if not, I am trying to get the house ready to sell.

It seems like I am on the cusp of a lot of different things. The kids are starting school, I am going back to work full-time, and on the verge of being divorced. I have a lot of anxiety about all of it. I just sleep in little segments, wake up and think some more. It will be nice when I get into the new routine and know how everything is going to come out. I worry my time with the children will be too little, especially with all these changes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Mule

"Women are the mules of the world." - Zora Neale Hurston

I have thought about this quote often since I became pregnant with my son. It seems I am nothing but a mule to my husband and his family. Just a work horse with no feelings or expectations, there to take care of their offspring and expected to work and meet all of their expectations.

I have never had this feeling before and I certainly never want to experience it again.

From here on out I will regain control of my own life and live to meet my own expectations, no one else's.

My children are everything to me and will continue to be so. But I look at life very different now than when I began this relationship.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Ultimate Goal

Last night I started thinking of the purpose of this blog, and the purpose of my life really.

I want to raise healthy, addiction-free children.

All of my time and investment is in that. And at times I resent my husband and father-in-law, but I don't want that to cloud my true purpose.

It seems it is more important to them to demonize me and protect their money than to focus on these kids.

Next week, I will go back to work full-time. I have been gradually working towards that these last few weeks, but next week, both kids will be in school for 6-9 hours a day. My mother has once again stepped forward and offered to help in huge ways that I will never be able to repay her for.

It is going to be a huge adjustment for all of us, and at times I feel very sad and bitter about it. I don't want my 3-year-old in school all day. It seems way too young to me. But it seems there is no other option now.

My father-in-law pays my husband (and I believe his brother) more than $2,000 a month through his company just to fund a life insurance policy for him so he won't have to pay estate taxes when he dies. I imagine that's quite a policy. And quite a sum he feels he needs to protect.

I started thinking about that last night, and the fact that my father-in-law flippantly decided he didn't want to pay for my son's $2,000 a month school tuition.

He clearly has different values than me.

And while it does eat at me when I think about it, I really need to resist those moments and focus on my kids.

At the end of the day, if these kids end up with problems, I am always going to wonder what all of us could have done differently.

To Make You Feel My Love

This has always been one of my favorite songs, and one that I feel really defines love. I often sing it to my kids at night.

"To Make You Feel My Love"

[Written by Bob Dylan]

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
There ain't nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rollin' sea
Down on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
But you ain't seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
I know there's nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cost

My husband just left and I am once again disappointed. It seems there will be no easy way out of this. His dad paid his $5,000 retainer for his divorce attorney. So much for coming to an amicable agreement on our own.

It amazes me that there is no money to pay bills or take care of the majority of the needs of our children, including counseling for our son or even getting his cavities filled - but there is money for an attorney, which will surely cost more than $5,000. If that is not abuse and neglect, I don't know what is.

Apparently it is more important for my husband and his father to protect their money than to take care of these kids.

I have no doubts about the validity of my case. My husband has a felony conviction for cocaine possession and has been in 2 rehabs for a total of more than 5 months since we've had our kids. So a lot of the things he is saying to me right now are laughable.

I know I can win in court. The question is at what cost?

I just want to move on with my life. But that said, I am also tired of him and his dad fucking with me, and I'm not just going to roll over either.

The Tiffany Necklace

This has been a hard week. Last Sunday, I finally gave in and let my grandmother lend me some money. I am 34-years-old and I really don't think I should be borrowing money from my family at this point of my life. It was humbling to say the least.

I have been trying to sell some things on eBay for some time now and I think I am finally getting the hang of the process and have actually started to sell some things.

One of the items was a Tiffany necklace that I had been given as a gift many years ago on my birthday. I sold the item last night and the buyer sent me an email. I had written on the ad that the necklace was in very good condition because I had planned to give it to my daughter someday. I had saved the original Tiffany boxes and wrappings. He wrote me to ask why I was not giving the necklace to my daughter now.

I wrote a few brief sentences about my situation and he replied, "i just sent your payment by paypal, i would like you to NOT send me the necklace. Please give it to your Daughter."

That really made me tear up and I ended up crying very hard. I told him I could not accept his offer. I went downstairs and talked to my mom, who was there to watch the kids for the day while I worked. She said, these things don't happen very often. Just try to accept it.

The man responded back that it was not charity, and that God had given him more than he would ever need.

I asked him if he was sure, and he said, "absolutely, be well."

I have been rather emotional about this all day. But I thought about what my mom said and I decided to put the necklace on for good luck.

One of the hardest things for me to accept in selling all these things was that I would not be able to give them to my daughter some day. She LOVES jewelry - putting it on, even looking at it. I thought I had come to terms with all of that until today, when this gesture reduced me to mush.

Now I know when I do give this necklace to my daughter someday that it will be more than just the original story of getting it for my birthday many years ago. It will be a story about acceptance and grace and getting through this really tough time. It will be about a stranger named Paul in South Dakota, who caught a tiny sentence in my ad, and took the time and initiative to know why I was selling my necklace. Who immediately put funds into my account without getting anything in return.