A Picture Says….?

Here I am – back with another post-divorce post. Sort of. I had an interesting thing happen yesterday and so I thought I would explore my feelings here.

I opened Instagram and the first thing I saw was a picture my step-daughter posted of her and her dad. It caught me by surprise. The last time I saw or spoke to him was the day we signed our divorce papers which was in August of 2017. This was by his choice. As soon as we walked out of the lawyers office he blocked me on all social media – honestly, I think he felt (and maybe continues to feel) guilty for everything that happened and since he is not the most mature of human beings the way he dealt with the uncomfortable feelings was to rewrite history in his head, and make me the villain and him the victim who had no choice but to lie and cheat on his trusting spouse for 8 months before leaving to move in with an accommodating skank.

Anyway, at first seeing the photo was like a quick gut punch. My stomach flopped and I closed Instagram. Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that. I had to open it again – although this time I was prepared to see the SOB AH. I wanted to look at the picture and see what I felt without the uncomfortable adrenalin of the surprise.

Interestingly, I didn’t feel much. I still have the image of the handsome prince I was married to burned in my brain. I have memories of our first date, our wedding and a thousand other little moments and in them all he is a beautiful man, very attractive and sexually appealing and the holder of my happiness. Although the guy in the Instagram photo looks pretty much the same as the memory guy – somehow he doesn’t. Looking at the photo didn’t stir any feelings of nostalgia, or loss or much of anything really. The strongest emotion I felt was irritation. Looking at his photo made me mad all over again at the way he treated me, mad at the unfairness of it all, mad at the financial bind he has put me in that will last for years if not forever.

Now to be petty – yeah, I know I should be above that but I am not. Sorry, not sorry. So…he didn’t look great. He was clean shaven – which is not the facial hair look I prefer on him. Soon after we met he started sporting the kind of small beard and mustache that along with his red gold hair made him look like a modern day Robin Hood. It was a good look for him but at least in the current picture the rakish look is gone. He also still has the same beer gut he always had. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a thin woman and in all fairness he never found my size to be a negative in anyway and I was never displeased with the shape of his body, but we are both normal middle aged people and not fitness, super models. However, I had heard that he was super into a Paleo diet and fitness lifestyle now and I had visions of running into him and he would be a male model with toned abs who looked 2o years younger and I would feel like a fat dumpy old cow. Well I am here to say that while his new eating and fitness plan might be making a difference to his overall health it has not changed the shape of his body or removed the wrinkles around his eyes. I still look 5 years younger than him and I am 7 years older.

The most telling thing about the picture though, was that he was standing in a pose/attitude that I had become all to familiar with during the last year of our marriage. He is leaning against a wall while my step-daughter is crouched down in the foreground of the picture taking the selfie. He is looking up (reluctantly) from his phone with a look on his face that clearly shows that his phone is more interesting to him than the person in the room. That was something that became a problem in our marriage and something that I should have paid much more attention to at the time. He had become addicted (?) to his phone and had a better relationship with it than with me. I was not aware at the time that he was trolling all kinds of sex and skeevy dating apps (yet he maintains he never cheated on me), was texting a lot with various women who were “just friends”, along with being much too focused on social media and all the strangers out in the world of Instagram and FB who were “liking“ him. If this photo is a capture of more than just the moment it was taken, his face is still glued to his screen a majority of the time and he still has less attention for the people he is with in the real world. That is something I truly do not miss.

To end this post on a positive note, let me just say that my YouTube channel has been great. In just over two weeks I have over 175 subscribers and have had well over 1000 views of the four videos I have posted. The community that is centered around cross stitch and other fiber arts is very welcoming and supportive. I am excited to make my videos, excited to work creatively everyday with my needle and floss, and excited to make new friends both locally and globally through our shared love of this artform. If you have any interest in needlework at all, please visit my channel to check it out. My channel name is KarlaBeingCrafty. I would love for you to drop me comment there.

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I Am Starting a YouTube Adventure

I thought I would touch base here today and let you all know that I am branching out to a new endeavor – I have started a YouTube channel to talk about my cross stitch and other crafty stuff with maybe a bit of life happenings thrown in.

I started this blog primarily as a way to release some of the thoughts and feelings that were overwhelming me at the beginning of my divorce. I still have a lot of those thoughts and feeling – albeit to a much more manageable degree but at a certain point it feels like just rehashing the same stuff over and over again: – I still feel frustrated, hurt, angry , sad, lonely, relieved, apprehensive and excited at the direction life has taken me. I still miss my husband while at the same time hating and resenting the ways in which he hurt and used me and how much he messed up my life both emotionally and financially. I still think about him far too often, have memories “attack” me at inopportune times and dream about him in ways that make me feel sad and disturbed when I wake up.

BUT – despite all that being true – I don’t want to dwell on the negative things that have brought me to where I am today. I want to focus on the things that make me feel happy and content. The stress is going to be there for a long time – stress that comes with being uncertain as to my financial future and my potential to ever have romantic love in my life again, but I need to work around that stress – to put it on the back burner and focus on better things.

I mentioned a few posts back that I started doing cross stitch and needlepoint back in March – I totally fell down a rabbit hole with the needle crafts and I really love it. On top of just loving the craft, I found that the cross-stitch community is huge and kind and welcoming, so I am really enjoying being a part of it. The online cross stitch community is likewise very prolific and after watching other people do entertaining Youtube videos (called affectionately FlossTube for cross stitchers) I decided to try my hand at it also. So, I started a channel.

My channel name is KarlaBeingCrafty. I know that most of the people who have followed me on WordPress have been interested in my insights on my divorce, but if you have any interest in crafts, needlecrafts, diamond painting, cross stitch or just in seeing what I look and sound like I invite you to take a look at my channel. I have produced two videos so far and am enjoying the process and the kind comments I have been getting from viewers.

I am sure I will be back to this blog occasionally to talk about feelings – but in the meantime you can find me on YouTube talking about fabric and floss and the day to day things that keep me content.

Thanks for reading my blog (now and in the future) and if you decide to come over to YouTube drop me a comment so I know that you are there. Until next time…Be Content, Be Kind and Be Crafty.

For the love of Needle and Floss

It all started kind of by accident.  Growing up my Mom used to do needle point and crewel embroidery and a little knitting.  She was very good at these crafts, so much so that she used to teach classes in how to do them so I was exposed early to stitching.  I did a little bit of it but don’t think I ever finished any project.  I remember liking doing the needlepoint and really not liking embroidery.

In the 80’s plastic canvas needlepoint was a popular craft and my mom did a lot of it.  I enjoyed that and made several gifts for friends (I made a set of cute alphabet refrigerator magnets for a friend’s child and a couple of really nice sets of personalized blocks for two different kids. I also knitted a bit but was never very good at it.  But I haven’t done anything stitch or yarn related in years.  Fast forward to this past holiday season and I got my mom a plastic canvas kit.

My mom has had numerous health problems over the years and one of her frustrations is that her vision and her hand dexterity has diminished to the extent that she can’t do the craft things she used to be able to do.  At one point her hands were so bad she had to use special fat silver wear and super fat pens to be able to hold them to feed herself and write.  She has worked a lot over the years with occupational therapy and her hands are much better.  I found out that one of the things she was doing in therapy was stringing and unstringing beads so I got her a bunch of pony beads and other fancier beads and the cord and a couple of years ago she started making necklaces and bracelets and key chains.  For everybody.   She has made some really pretty things.  She also has always enjoyed coloring so I started getting her kids coloring books and then when it became a common thing she progressed to adult coloring books and now she is doing scratch art.  She loves doing it and as her dexterity has improved she has gotten much more proficient at doing these crafts.

Last fall her occupational therapist got her a hard plastic needlepoint kit that was meant for kids.  She enjoyed doing it so I thought she might be ready to try out plastic canvas again.  I got her a kit that when finished would be a super cute tote bag with cats all over it (my mom is the OG crazy cat lady).  She loved it but was unsure of her ability to do it.  While she enjoyed working on the kids hard plastic needlepoint kit, she was less than thrilled with the results and the errors that she made.  She has always been a perfectionist about her needle work and together we came to the conclusion that working on the cat tote would not bring her joy as crafts are supposed to do, but would instead make her stressed and unhappy because she would not be able to do it with the level of perfection that she would like; however, since she really loves the kit she asked me to make it for her.

I started working on it a little bit in the evenings before bed after I had done enough diamond painting for the night and was really surprised at how much I was enjoying the process. I never liked doing embroidery as a kid as I said and I hated stamped cross stitch projects but I did enjoy needlepoint and have been intrigued by counted cross stitch.  I decided to get a small needlepoint kit and a small counted cross stitch kit to see if it was something I would enjoy.  I fell in love.  The bad news is that I haven’t done very much diamond painting in the last six weeks because I have been stitching every night, but the good news is that I finished both of the original small kits  I got and have started several new projects.  My mom loves that I am doing this – it is kind of a way to honor her and she loves when I come by every other week to visit and bring all my projects so she can see the progress on each one.

I find stitching each evening to be a calming and relaxing pastime.  I have always loved being creative and artistic and it is exciting to make something beautiful with my hands and talent.  I am also looking forward to figuring out interesting and exciting ways to finish my projects.  I am also kind of intrigued with the idea of dying my own cross stitch fabric so I might experiment with that a little also.  If I get a little tired of stitching I have a huge selection of diamond paintings to work on so my evenings will be filled with creativity for long into the foreseeable future.

There has been another perk of starting this stitching adventure. I joined a few facebook stitching groups which provide a lot of support and kudos for posting and talking about the stuff with which I am currently obsessed. And I found a Southern California group that meets in various locations around Southern California every Saturday.  It turns out that there is a get together near me (within a 20 minute drive) three out of four Saturdays a month.  I have gone to three meetups so far and have met several really nice people at very low key gatherings – basically sitting in a coffee shop or food court for six hours stitching and talking and having lunch.  It is the social connection that I have been looking for for two years.  I could never find a meetup group that seemed to fit but with this group of (mostly) ladies I feel a casual comfort and the feeling of acceptance through a shared passion for creation with needle and thread.IMG_2269

May update

I feel it is kind of silly to start a post by apologizing for how long it is been since I wrote a post.  I mean after all, oi am mostly writing this blog for myself and since I talk to myself everyday (I do, often out loud, lots of times while I am in the bathroom for some reason) I have not had time to miss me.  But if I do have any readers out there who enjoy reading my often times scattered thoughts and if you missed me in the six or so weeks since I have posted then I do apologize.

 

In divorce news… there is none.   I continue to live my life.  I continue to miss my marriage if not exactly my ex.  I dream about him often and think about him daily.  He pops into my mind unbidden and annoyingly often.  I have not had any contact with the actual man in over a year and a half so I know these thoughts and memories are of a ghost.  I have no idea what my feelings are for the human person who exists somewhere in Los Angeles.  My feelings are about someone who is long gone – who in all reality probably left before the actual man did.  I know all these things yet I feel powerless to exorcise this ghost. It will just take time for him to completely go away.  Time or some ghostbusters – Who ya gonna call?

 

I don’t want to give the false impression that I am crying in my cornflakes every morning about my divorce.  I don’t feel sad  – just kind of apathetic about the whole thing.  Actually the majority of the stress and worry in my life comes from the by product of being dumped after the age of 50…the financial insecurity of living in an expensive area of the country while being single.  I make a good living – but my rent (for a tiny studio apartment) and out of pocket health insurance costs alone eat up almost 40% of my paycheck.  Then add normal costs for a cellphone plan (for myself and my elderly mom), internet/cable, credit card bills, loan payments for the loans that were necessary due to two moves after my divorce in a twelve month time frame, car insurance, monthly medications, water-gas –and electric, and well that leaves very little left over to buy the frivolous things – like toilet paper and food.  I know there are a lot of people in this world who are in much more difficult circumstances than I am and I do feel lucky to have all I do but sometimes I wish it would just get a little easier.  I hate being down to less than $50 in the bank and several days to go until my next paycheck.

 

However, there has been a bright spot in my life recently.  I discovered  cross-stitch and needle point and this hobby has so far given me a lot of calming pleasure and has also led me to an online and an in-real-life community that has been very enjoyable and uplifting.  I have a feeling that explaining all this will take quite a few paragraphs so I will end this post and then do a stitchy one next. Stand by…

Non-aversary Two

Today is my second non-aversary. I guess in reality it is still my 7th wedding anniversary even if I am no longer married because I did have a wedding seven years ago today. I have spent the last week kind of trying to pretend that I wasn’t bothered by this day coming up and I had pretty much convinced myself even though the thoughts were lurking in the back of my mind – BUT then this morning I got up and got ready and went to work as always and now I am sitting here in the poopiest mood. I guess it is better to acknowledge that I am bothered today and just get on with it than to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Yep – I am in a bad mood…my boss has asked me to do two two stupid things so far this morning and my first instinct has been to throw a pencil at his head (I have refrained from following that instinct). Don’t get me wrong – I like my boss and he is a very nice man who has been very kind to me over the years, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that for someone who is pretty bright and who obviously thinks he is extremely brainy – he can be a total dumb bunny when he doesn’t really want to know how to do something.

Honestly I am so conflicted because I don’t want to feel sad about today. I don’t want to care about my AH ex-husband anymore – in fact any gossipy tidbits I hear about him just make me feel sort of queasy. As an aside here (my thoughts are scattered today) – the AH thing comes from a Neil Simon Play I directed, California Suite. This was also made into a pretty good movie in 1978 and the scene I am referring to is the one with Michael Caine and Maggie Smith:
(Dianna) 10 a.m. is the morning. That’s redundant, you A.H.
(Sidney)You think I don’t know what you’re saying? I CAN spell, you know.
(Dianna) Not without opening your mouth you can’t
Anyway, I can’t hear,think or say that word any more without thinking of that scene which always makes even the most assholey of behavior slightly funny to me.

But getting back to my non-celebration of this non day…I am trying to move past all these icky feelings. I guess I am doing pretty well in general – I am functioning and plodding along in my little single gal studio with my snuggly cat (I still miss my dog more than words can say – but I don’t need to think about that today and pile on) and all my artsy/craftsy projects. I have friends over and go out occasionally, but while I am functioning and content and creating I don’t exactly feel like I am thriving. It is a bit disheartening to realize that most of the women I know who have been through the big D, both in real life and the blogosphere don’t seem to act like they are thriving and enchanted with their lives again until they are once again in a relationship. Maybe that is not really true and I am only seeing things through divorce colored glasses right now but the only women I can think of who truly seem to be past the sadness of Divorce are either in subsequent relationships or so long past the divorce (like 20 years or more past) that it is ancient history. At this point in my life it is difficult to imagine being in another relationship and pretty much impossible to imagine making the effort to get into another relationship. Does that mean I have another 18 years before I feel like there is not a big hole in my life where my marriage used to be. F that!

I know all this melancholia will pass. Gloria Gainor, I will survive and all that, but right now I really just want to go home, have a margarita and eat a lot of carbs.

January – a Month of Sadness

I am anything but a “good” blogger as my posts get farther apart. It is interesting how often I will think of a subject to write about but by the time I am in front of my computer it just seems too trivial or too boring to spend time on.

The holidays came and went with little pomp or circumstance in my corner of the world. I enjoyed the extra chocolate and treats that float around during December and really appreciated having a couple of long weekends at the end of the year but aside from that the holidays didn’t feel super special for me this year.

January has unfortunately brought a bunch of sadness. I guess it is just a fact of life that as we get older the passing of loved ones becomes a more frequent occurrence. My boss and coworker (they are brother and sister) lost their dad kind of unexpectedly two weeks ago. I have known this man for over 20 years and his passing (even though he was 90) still was a blow and left a sort of sad pall over our office. In addition my best friend’s dad (who I met when I was in high school) has found out that his prostate cancer that has been in remission for quite a while is active again and he is in the hospital. Another fine man. I never knew him that well, as I was always a bit shy around him but I admired him and always thought that he and my dad would have been great friends if they had ever been able to meet.

The New Year has also brought news of my ex in-laws. In November I thought they were both having some minor-ish health issues but unfortunately those issues have turned out to be not at all minor. My father-in-law is in the beginning stages of dementia and is already requiring around the clock monitoring if not outright caregiving. My mother-in-law has stage four cancer that has spread to her lungs and bones and she is now in hospice and only has a few weeks. It is heartbreaking – these people were my family for 7 years and I am saddened at what is happening to them, appalled at the reactions I hear my ex is having (he seems more worried about his vacation being messed up than about spending time with his mom during her last days – according to my Step Daughter), and angry that I can’t even publicly grieve for them as my presence at any service that happens would be “uncomfortable” for my stupid ex, his stupid gf and my ex sister-in-law. It is all a big mess.

And finally, January will close on my own personal heartbreak as I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog this past Friday. Frodo has been my baby for 16 years – which I know is good long life for a dog, but I still was not ready for it. His last week was a constant state of worry and sadness for me as I could see him rapidly going downhill. He stopped eating – even his favorite foods and by Friday I knew that I had to do something to end any suffering he might have. I took him to the vet Friday morning and held him in my arms as the Dr. administered the medication that sent him to sleep. It was honestly one of the most awful moments in my life. I miss his sweet face more than words can express and even three days later I am still looking around my apartment expecting to see him sleeping near me or looking up at me with his big fluffy ears, wagging plume of a tail and laughing eyes. I loved him so much. He has been there for me during the crapfest of the past several years – a constant friend and snuggle buddy who loved me unconditionally. There is a huge Papillion shaped hole in my heart and life.

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Post Turkey Musings

Another major holiday has come and gone. I actually had a nice weekend – I didn’t do anything on Thursday for Thanksgiving. Well actually that is not true – I did an exhausting lot on Thursday – I cleaned my apartment and made a pie and pumpkin bars and sugared cranberries. But I was alone and did not do anything thanksgiving-y except for making the above items for my “Friendsgiving” the next day. My Step Daughter came over in the evening to watch the National Dog Show that I had recorded for her as her family (my ex family) watches the football games. I got a few tidbits of snarky gossip from her – my ex is not yet married to “the best thing that ever happened to him” even though they were supposedly getting married in October. It makes me wonder if his family’s lack of enthusiasm for his antics has had any impact – but that is something I will probably never know. My ex in-laws have both been having some health problems (not minor but not life threatening either) and apparently my ex and his snake of a sister spent a good portion of Thanksgiving discussing how they will split up mom’s assets after she snuffs it – a lovely, cheery and tasteful Thanksgiving topic that did not go over well with my Step Daughter who lives with her grandparents and has been helping them through this difficult time.

I decided a while ago that instead of trying to beg people to come to my place for Thanksgiving so I wouldn’t be alone, and instead of trying to wrangle a pity invite to someone else’s family Thanksgiving – I would forgo the Thursday formal celebrations and schedule a Friday “Friendsgiving” open house sort of thing– same basic food, nice leftovers, less stress and formality. I invited about 20 people –ended up having 4 friends come over for turkey and all the fixings in the afternoon along with some nice conversation. Everyone left around 8 and I had the evening to myself to indulge in an extra slice of pie and some splurged on “new” movies. I spent Saturday in my pajamas all day doing my new craft obsession, diamond painting, and watching movie after movie on Amazon and Netflix. I visited my mom on Sunday – took her a slice of homemade pie and some of my delicious stuffing and then went home and made turkey stock for Turkey rice soup that I will finish making tonight. Overall, it was a good, calm Thanksgiving weekend.

I am finding my new apartment to be a sort of sanctuary – I enjoy being in it doing my craft stuff and puttering around in the kitchen even when I am alone (although with a cat and dog I am never totally alone and I am saved feeling like a crazy person for talking to myself because I can talk to them). I enjoy my hermit times, but I also love having friends over and cooking special food to share with them. BUT… I still live with the ghost of my ex. He haunts my dreams sometimes (it kind of goes in waves) and I still think about him (and miss him) a lot – more than I am comfortable admitting. So many people who have been through infidelity and divorce seem to have been able to let go of all the good memories, to develop a healthy disregard and dislike at the very least for their ex – as they should for someone who treated them so badly. They have been able to move on and date again, find love again – or at least pursue it. I find myself still in love with a ghost, with the memory of a man who no longer exists. I have disdain for the person he is now, but at the same time I still ache for the person that was, for my husband, my marriage, my dreams for the future.

I can’t imagine having good romantic feelings for someone new, and I don’t enjoy the feelings I have for my ex. I hope this phase of the divorce mourning process doesn’t last too long. I am getting tired of it for sure.

Divorce Glasses – the New Normal

I came to an interesting realization this past week. This is not a huge revelation or anything but the truth of this came very sharply into focus. – Infidelity, divorce and the fallout from it changes EVERYTHING. I will forever be wearing divorce colored glasses. This is not to say that everything going forward is bad or skewed badly or tinted in an ugly way – I just mean that everything I do, everything I think and decide is influenced by the biggest upset in my adult life.

My wonderful friend took me to the movies last month for my birthday. We saw Crazy Rich Asians which was a fun cute Rom/Com type movie – but the thing that stuck out for me was the secondary character whose discovers her husband is having an affair and how that situation is handled. When she confronts him he lashes out at her with anger, telling her everything she did to “make him” cheat on her. That felt all too familiar. And I couldn’t help but enjoy the end of the movie when she calmly and clearly told him what an ass he was. I wish I could remember her exact words but it went along the lines that she shouldn’t have tried to do things to make him feel like more of a man because he wasn’t ever a man to begin with. I am explaining it badly but it was classic and very satisfying .

I tend to binge watch favorite TV shows – I have them on in the background while I putter around doing other things and I had this same experience of looking at things through my divorce glasses while re-watching Gilmore Girls lately. Rory losing her virginity to Dean while he was married was never an event that I thought was cute or romantic, but this time watching I kept thinking about his poor wife. She was trying so hard to do whatever she could to please him, trying to learn to cook his favorite dishes, trying to connect with him and she couldn’t understand why he was angry with her all the time. She just didn’t understand that she couldn’t please him because she wasn’t the girl he was currently lusting after and she was making him feel guilty just by her existence. I related to that too well.

I also recognized that my divorce glasses have been making me timid in ways I never was before. I had the opportunity to audition for a play this past week. I have not done a show in about 18 months, since before my divorce was final, and I was called into that one at an unfamiliar theater – I didn’t have to audition. Theater has always been such a huge part of my life. I have been involved in my “home” theater for over 30 years. When I met David I brought him into my theater and he became involved there too. When he started his “midlife crisis, asshole ways” he was a jerk to everyone at the theater which was hugely embarrassing for me. My emotional fragility at the time also caused me to step away from the theater and although I have seen a few shows there in the past few years have not been involved since summer 2016. I was asked to audition for the next show there and almost didn’t. I didn’t go to the first night of auditions on Monday and when the director texted me after them and asked me to come to the next night I really had to think about it. I felt panicked – over auditioning at a familiar comfortable place. Something I have done dozens and dozens of times over the last three decades.

Why? Why has my husband’s betrayal kicked my confidence in every aspect of my life? Why has it made me so timid and afraid that things are going to go wrong? I mean intellectually I know that things do and have gone wrong all the time, but I also know that I manage to deal with everything. Sometimes I need help and I have been lucky to have friends who are willing to help me when I need it but I still have managed to deal. But I still can’t kick that core knot of fear that is in me all the time now. I really hate him for planting that fear in me.

Anyway – I did go to the auditions on Tuesday. And I got the part! So I am back working at the theater that was my home for so long. The fear isn’t going away but I guess I will learn to live with it and work around it. This is my new normal.

Another Year Goes By…

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I just had a birthday and I am getting close to my second anniversary on my blog. I never really though about it before but it was supremely shitty of my ex to leave me two weeks before my birthday two years ago. My Birthday will forever be kind of linked to such a horrible time in my life. Yep – the jerk runs deep with that one. Anyway I guess it is time to do another review and check in on my life….

Last year at this time I had recently moved to a new apartment and was adjusting to that. Hmmmm…no change there – this year I have just moved to a new apartment again and am adjusting (almost unpacked – just a small pile of boxes left). Granted I think this apartment is much better in many ways, but I am still dealing with the fallout of having to move again after just a year in my apartment in LB. The biggest negative impact of this move is the severe hit to my finances. Unfortunately the shortened commuting time and stress reduction that my new apartment provides cannot be filled up with doing more of the fun things that I was missing – like movies and theater and going out with my friends – because I simply don’t have the money to do these things. Hopefully as time goes on and I get more settled I will find I have a bit more discretionary income – but for right now I am really having to juggle both the fun parts of my life (like going out and inviting friends over for dinner parties and buying what I want at the grocery store) and the necessities (like buying prescription drugs, toilet paper and pet food) against the date I get paid. Having to move again so soon after moving last year completely tapped my financial resources – moving is super expensive you guys – and after the moving costs I have to account for increased rent, increased utility bills and increased health insurance costs. Orange County costs me $50 per month more than LA County for the exact same plan and doctors and it is going to go up in January by a predicted 10% putting me very close to $500/month for a bronze plan which covers very little. And while I avoid getting political on this blog – the current administration and congress continue to propose things to make even the expensive, not so great insurance coverage I have even more expensive and harder to get. I lost my husband’s health coverage at a really bad time.

Last year at this time my divorce had just become final. Incidentally, the day we signed the papers was the last time I saw my ex and the last time we spoke to each other. We did have a couple short text exchanges in September and October but since then nothing. He has paid me my tiny spousal support payment early each month, but although he was supposed to get me a “get” (Jewish formal divorce decree) and start the QDRO process to split his 401k by the end of 2017 he has not done either. I am pretty sure the only way I will be able to “make” him do these things is to get a lawyer but as I have no extra money (see above – I have had to move twice in the last 18 months) I can’t afford to do this. He has changed jobs since last year (and maybe moved his 401k?)and is supposedly getting married again in October so I know these things are just going to get more complex but in all honesty this is not something I want to dwell on at this time and I feel a bit powerless to do anything about it right now. I have enough stress in my life right now just dealing with normal stuff – I don’t need to add to it by hitting my head against a brick wall and against his stubbornness about this stuff…

As to my feelings about the ex…am I still sad? It is sort of a dull wistful sadness at this point. I don’t cry over him anymore and little things are not big triggers. But I still miss him (or the idea of him). I miss being married, I miss having someone to laugh with and cry on. I miss all the little moments that a marriage brings. I still sometimes see odd things out in the world (like a train shaped mailbox) and my first thought is “David would like that”. But I also realize that the person that I miss just doesn’t exist anymore. Even if he somehow came back into my life – I would be getting to know a new, completely different person with ideals and morals and dreams that are completely different from the man I met in 2010.

Surprisingly I am not really lonely. I like living alone mostly, but there are many aspects of marriage that I do miss. I miss sex – but even more that that I miss the less sexual, more romantic physical aspects of marriage. I miss holding hands and cuddling on the sofa watching TV. And kissing. I really miss kissing. Intellectually I know I could maybe have those things with someone else eventually, but emotionally I just don’t see that happening for me anytime soon. I have never been good at dating and at this point in my life it seems more and more like a chore than something to look forward to. It is really hard for me to imaging feeling those types of feelings for someone else. Maybe that will change if I meet someone but I feel selfish now – unwilling to give of myself or of my time and energy. It is like my ex killed the giving part of my nature and turned me into someone cold and unfeeling – ironic since he justified leaving me by saying I ‘didn’t care about him at all” when I would have done pretty much anything for him and for us if he had just talked to me about what he was feeling instead of giving me weird “tests” and lying to me for months while he trolled online for new romantic and sexual adventures. He turned me into the unfeeling creature he unfairly claimed I was.

Last year I was taking a pottery class once a week, I was very into bath products and was getting a few beauty subscription boxes to liven up my mailbox. This year I stopped the pottery classes, not because I didn’t enjoy them but they were getting kind of expensive and I wasn’t enjoying the fact that they took up such a big part of my weekend. Now with my seemingly bigger apartment (it is technically smaller but I swear it feels twice as big – I don’t get it) and the fact that I have a dining table to work on – I started a new crafty hobby of diamond painting which I am really enjoying. I stopped getting all the beauty boxes – I still love makeup and skin care products but a year of getting the boxes gave me a healthy supply and that is money that can be spent a little more wisely right now. I still love the baths but need them less as a mind numbing escape now and just occasionally use them to physically relax

I had big plans last year to have friends over all the time for dinner parties but I was only able to do that a few times – the lack of space in my apartment made gathering a bit difficult and the dinky user unfriendly kitchen was not conducive to cooking and planning. My new apartment has a great open kitchen with a dishwasher. I can tell that I am more content in my life simply because I am eager to get back into the kitchen to make stuff. I had friends over for my birthday on the 15th and made Pavlova for dessert which was awesome (I watch too many British cooking shows) and I have small dinner parties planned for the 15th of September and the 20th of October and hopefully I will be able to do something like that at least once a month going forward. I wish I could do it even more often but again I need to schedule them around payday. But it feels nice to be interested again in cooking and entertaining. I also subscribed to a farm box every other week from a company called Imperfect Produce. They are a company that is committed to ending food waste so their boxes are filed with fruits and veggies that are either “ugly” (crooked carrots or misshapen peppers for instance) or farmer’s surplus. All the produce is perfect in quality and taste, it is just stuff that the markets reject because of size or blemishes or shape and it is much cheaper than the stores. Getting this box every other week is kind of fun and stimulates my creative cooking impulses.

So last year, my far reaching plan was to get back to being happy instead of just being okay. I don’t think I am quite there yet, but I am on my way. I am a few steps closer to happy. I am mostly content, definitely have happy times mixed in with the sad and stressful times. I am still a work in progress but the progress is being made.

The Great Grape Experiment

My birthday is rapidly approaching. I will be 53 on Wednesday and with that day around the corner it has brought on a lot of musings on aging and being alone while aging etc. As anyone who has been through a breakup can attest, being cheated on, dumped and ignored can do a number on your self-esteem. While I do not believe that my looks had anything to do with my husband’s infidelity, nor do I think the women he has subsequently been with are any “prettier” or “better” than me it still was a massive ego blow that is really hard to fight against. In my down moments I feel ugly, fat and old. When I am in a good place I can look in the mirror and think that yes I am a big woman, but I have a nice hourglass figure, really nice boobs, pretty big green/brown eyes and a lovely face that defies the number of years I have been wearing it. And my hair… ah…

I actually like my hair for the most part. It has lost a lot of its thickness with age and stress over the past few years but it is still nice, longish, and pretty healthy …and gray. I started to go gray when I was 17. Considering that my paternal grandmother had a full head of white hair in her mid 20s this is not overly surprising. My mom on the other hand did not even start to get a gray hair on her head until she was in her mid 40s. Of course I got my fat butt from my mom’s side but my dad’s side gave me the gray hair and dark circles under my eyes (my dad’s sisters have always been rail thin btw – and those ladies can eat!).

So since I started going gray at 17 I also started coloring my hair at 17. I have usually used some shade of reddish brown which follows my natural hair tendencies. I did do really bright copper when I was in my 20s but for the most part my hair has always been a pretty natural auburn shade. But I have been getting sick of coloring my hair, and the fact that it only looks really good for about two weeks and then for the next 4-6 weeks I would have to wear my hair in a way to disguise the ever widening skunk line which appears.

I have also been curious about several things: how much gray I actually have and how it would look if I didn’t color my hair. And… if I am too old or would look to “desperate to cling to youth” if I used fantasy colors. Frankly I love all the Instagram pics of people with rainbow hair and having an artistic soul long to be a unicorn/mermaid myself, but I don’t want to look silly either. I know I would be supremely unhappy with just letting myself go gray. I might end up with a beautiful head of silver hair but the journey would leave me feeling very dull, colorless and OLD. After quite a bit of thought I decided to let my hair go gra(PE).

I saw online a company called Overtone. Since this is not a big commercial for them I will just say that if you are interested in a similar experiment look them up online and you can get all sorts of interesting information on how to keep fantasy colored hair looking vibrant etc. I started using their products which are highly pigmented conditioners instead of permanent dye to color my hair purple and pink.

I decided to kind of gradient my hair. I am using a mixture of purple and pink (actually their rose gold for brown hair, and more recently added a little red) on my crown and roots and fade that down to just the rose gold on my ends. They have a deep conditioner product which I use every three weeks or so to refresh the color and get any growing out roots and a daily conditioner which I use when I wash my hair every 3-4 days to avoid color fade. Since I am making a very imprecise mix each time my crown color changes a bit – sometimes more grape juice, sometimes more plumberry, sometimes more merlot – actually I think the fact that it is variable is kind of fun! So far I haven’t had any harsh skunk line to deal with, my gray hair (which is notoriously difficult to color) has taken the color pretty well and except for the fact that my shower is a leeetle bit pink, the color has not transferred to anything else (not pillow cases nor clothes). My friends seem to like the color, I have been complimented by strangers three times and I am enjoying being just a little bit edgy, but not so crazy that I make people shake their heads. If I ever decide I want to just go ahead and be gray I can just stop using the conditioner and like all fantasy colors it will fade and wash out in a couple of weeks, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

The first image is from May when I first started this grape hair experiment. You can see the very purple color just hanging out in my crown. The others are from the end of July. The sun coming in through the window made my crown glow much more raspberry that day. What do you think of my head of wine?

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