275/364/2015 Cat In A Tree


This is my fattest cat, in the tree I reduced to two levels instead of three so both of them could jump their lard asses up on it without knocking it over. I’m pleased to see it worked.

This is something I said yesterday: “I think men don’t get how dangerous it can be to walk away from a woman who can do that. When they turn around, the space is gone, and it’s totally gone because it’s all full of the woman, not somethings she can put down to pick you up again.”

For context, “that” refers to filling the void left by an ended/radically changed relationship with more of me instead of other things/people. And it is interesting that this was a point of conversation at 7:30 in the morning, because 14 hours later I was presented with an opportunity to grow myself again. I wonder what I will get up to this time?

Now this sounds really strong and lovely and proactive, but there are a few drawbacks. Learning to meet my own needs and expanding into myself means that each time there is an ending, the bar gets raised for the next guy. Like, I started after my divorce with a list of stuff I wouldn’t accept, yeah? So, I was positioned to only date men who added to my life. Which I have done. And I learned things from all of those relationships that I then expanded on between relationships. Essentially, the bar got raised every time, because a new guy had to be able to meet a need I couldn’t meet for myself, and I have learned to meet more and more of them. At this point, I’m pretty much down to pillow talk and conversation over morning coffee, new restaurants and museums, books and television shows. Wait, I can find three of those last four on my own. Damn, see what I mean?

I guess the point is the same as a man can’t step into the same river twice. He’s not the same man and it’s not the same river.

224/364/2015 MSW


Today has been the worst day so far. I have managed to

1. Oversleep, thus mishandling a simple request.
2. Check the mail, because it was at the door when I opened it to go down to
3. Wash and dry a load of laundry. It isn’t folded yet, but that may happen.
4. Color a lot, so I wouldn’t go back to bed and because I can’t drink or eat when I color and that helps
5. Avoid binge eating or drinking. One or both of these may change. The picture is almost done and the evening is young.
6. Smoke like a chimney.

Even getting my degree has not lifted the fog. You may also note that getting dressed isn’t on my list of accomplishments. I hope tomorrow is perky, but if you need me for the rest of the day, I am pretty sure I will be sitting over here tending my mental garden and basically unavailable due to unsuitability for human contact.

Yep, I finally have initials after my name. Today, they stand for Most Sad Wench.

172/364/2015 Thinking Feet


So, I’ve been at this walking challenge for 12 days. Usually, I just walk. Sometimes I combine errands with the walk. And then, apparently, there are days like today when I spend my steps thinking. Solidifying concepts within myself.

Yesterday, I did some sharing with a companion. I won’t share again the story I told, primarily to protect the guilty, but after the tale was told I ended with “and this is why I won’t get married again until I don’t have kids at home.” I mean, I can look back now and trace the reasons for why people acted the way they did, and I can be objective and say things like “they did the best they could with the things they carried.” And I can and do believe that. But. There is something about seeing horror on a person’s face and pity in their eyes that will make me realize, yet again, that sometimes a person’s best still fucking sucks. Really hard. These stories I keep in my heart, they may be my normal, but they are not normal at all. For most people.

So today as I walked, that was what I was thinking about. And then my mind went on to considering one of my dearest friends. One who has let me down fairly frequently and whom I still call on, even though the success rate is 50/50 there. And that’s not a good track record. But. There are decades of longevity in that relationship. And I know the hidden stories in that heart. So I know that this person is a hero twice a day, minimum. Every morning that didn’t result in overnight suicide and every night that didn’t result in a cash-in that day is a success.

And the up-shot of all that, at around five thousand steps was this: There are times when just living to tell the tale counts as success. I am successful.

You know, I went into psychology to confront my own head. When I realized I was scoring great on the exams, but not really making headway with my own issues, I switched to social work. Man, have I done some serious demon confrontation in the past few years. Which is not to say I’m done. In fact, I woke up Saturday morning gasping for breath and on the verge of tears from a dream I had. My family, alive and dead, was talking about my dad. He wasn’t there. Because: dead. The conversation was pointed at my mother. And there was no resolution there. Which I guess is accurate, because there is never going to be any resolution there. It is a thing that just is. And while last year I was able to be loving and generous toward the fathers in my life on Father’s Day, that couldn’t happen for me this year. And that’s okay. That’s okay, because I am still successful: I’ve lived to tell the tale tales.

168/364/2015 Heavy Knapsack

I’m doing some soul searching today.  “Able to attend church” should not be a white privilege.   America, you make me sad. #Charleston


163/364/2015 Turtle


I have discovered that it is difficult to get 100 grams of protein with what one might call “normal food” without getting way more fat in my diet than I want. I went to Sam’s yesterday to buy groceries and while I was there, I bought beef jerky, protein drinks, and some salad add-ins that are high in protein. I also found bread with quinoa, chia, teff, and kamut. It also has 4 grams of protein per slice. And it is yummy. Problem solved.

None of that has anything to do with the photo. This is one of two turtles I encountered on my walk this morning. I think he would have fit in the palm of my hand. The other was partially in a hollow, and I think she was laying eggs, so I didn’t want to get too close and disturb her nesting. There was also a bullfrog, poison ivy (which I did not touch), and something huge that splashed in the pond. I don’t know what it was because I was busy taking the picture of the turtle. Also, rabbits and squirrels and birds. I was blessed today to take my 3,000 steps on a nature trail by the bay. It was a good way to start the day. It was already bordering on hot when I finished about 7:45, so I’ll be bumping that walk up until I find a sweet spot. I don’t plan to do the eventual 10,000 at mid-day.

I’ve spent a bit of time today refining my room. I’m not quite sure I will ever be done with that task, but I am down to small changes now, and each one adds to my satisfaction/peace when I walk into my sacred space. It is nice, after a period of time where everyone felt free to walk into my room at their whim, to live differently. Only three people enter without asking express permission, none of them live here, and they have all received blanket permission to do so. I can leave home without worrying that my room will be violated in my absence, my possessions purloined, and my sanctuary disturbed. Let alone being able to go to bed and go to sleep without worrying about who is going to walk in and see me drooling on my pillow. Yes, it has actually happened that a random teenage boy that I had never seen before walked through my room after I went to bed. I was not pleased. At all.

We’re going to the Orioles/Yankees game tonight: the four kids, a friend, and I. Hopefully I won’t crash as hard and as early as I did last night. I’ve still got a good bit that I would like to accomplish before 5pm, including cooking the take-along dinner we have planned. It should be a fun night. You know I live in Baltimore, so that means I root for the Orioles. But I’ve also been a Yankees fan since…many years. I’ll leave the park happy tonight, no matter what happens. Unless we get rained out. Then I will leave unhappy. And also wet.

162/364/2015 The List


So, this is an inside page of the book I showed you yesterday. All of this is what I want to get done today. As you can see, I already have one check mark. Actually, I have two, because as soon as I took this picture, I was able to check that off as well.

Now, if you know me, you know that lists are nothing new. My ADHD brain just loves to check shit off, and thrives on structure. Without it, I flounder and waste a lot of time on the internet. You can imagine that this summer, with minimal class attendance and no small children at home, was a yawning chasm of aimlessness for me, and not in a good way. I do have goals, and I need to be taking steps to meet them. Therefore, there is a page in this book for every day between yesterday and August 14, inclusive, just like it says on the cover.

But. This book is also a radical departure from my normal list making. You can see that in addition to habits I want to maintain or build and the jobs I need to do, there is also fun stuff listed. That’s difference number one. Difference number two is this: my “Summer of Challenge” also comes with rewards.

In the past, and I mean around the time my fourth child was born, I have used my lists to beat myself up. At the end of the day, I would look at all I hadn’t done. An incompletely finished list was a sign of my daily failure as a person. I’m changing that mindset. Just as I tell my clients to give themselves credit where it is due, I’m taking credit where it’s due. Each item on this daily list is worth five points. Even the fun stuff. And I get a reward for every 500 points I earn over the summer.

Girl wants things. I want a new phone. I want a smart watch. I want to go Goodwilling with my cousin. I may want to go out to dinner and now worry about how many fats and carbs are on my plate. I want a yoga block or two. And I can have one of those things as soon as I have 100 check marks in this book. My lists run over 20 items, so this could be done in 4 or 5 days.

I’m not superhuman though. I still only have 24 hours a day like the rest of you. Some days, there’s just more to do than can be accomplished. The point system also acknowledges that. Yesterday, I got 75 points. Not bad considering that I didn’t even “finish” the book until noon, and then I added to it as things came to mind until 5pm.

And you know me. I love to beat me up. The very last thing I added was the reward system. Boys and girls, I have replaced my stick with a carrot. Apparently the three lectures I’ve attended on CBT in the past 10 days have sunk in.

Oh, look. Another check mark, because I just journaled right here on the blog.