Sunday, January 24, 2010

Facebook surfing

Statistics say that 50% of all marriages end in divorce these days.

According to Facebook that stat seems to hold true.

Recently I was surfing profiles of Newtonites (people from my hometown) and, after noting name changes, status changes, pictures, and other profile information, it hit me how many people I know from home who are around my age who have already been married and divorced, and many of them remarried already. The thought was quite sobering.

Many of these people married their high school sweetheart (not all of them, of course; several high school sweethearts appeared to still be together). Some had kids, some seemed to have kids with the second marriage. It's so hard to say, just basing my "facts" on facebook information.

Now I would assume no one walks down the aisle with the thought "this probably won't work out" or "I give this two years tops" (while people sitting in the aisles may be saying or thinking those things). And of course I don't know the circumstances why any of these couples divorced. I can say that it does make me feel sad to think of the heartache, the broken homes, the broken promises, and the turmoil. It makes me want to hold my own husband a little tighter and to think of the line "in good times and in bad" and toughing through those bad times. Though again, I have no idea what bad times some of these couples suffered through. Infidelity, alcohol and drugs, lies, who knows. I only get a glimpse and small clues, thanks again to Facebook. 

So thanks Facebook, for keeping me up to date on the local, small-town gossip and happenings that I would otherwise miss. Thanks for feeding curiosities I didn't even realize I still had.

Of course I can put down the mouse and step away too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Last night, after like a year of anticipation and hearing how hilariously funny it is, my husband and I finally watched the movie The Hangover.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Not that the movie was bad, or even unfunny, but it just didn't seem to live up to all of the hype (and maybe I have to watch it again. Sometimes I get more of the jokes I missed the first time around). There were definitely funny scenes and situations, but mainly it was the characters I didn't like that much. I didn't find Bradley Cooper's character to be likeable at all, Stu was kind of annoying and whiny, Doug, well, if you have seen the movie you know he's not in it much. Luckily we have the hairy guy (I can't remember his name, Phil??) who was funny, at times in disturbing ways, but that is to be expected. I thought at first Heather Graham's character was a totally overacted caricature with the most stereotypical Vegas job (escort/stripper) and most stereotypical Vegas situation (oops! we got drunk and got married!). I have to say, the baby they found and are lugging around Vegas was pretty funny (and a very cute baby)!

This isn't the first time that a massively popular movie didn't live up to its hype when I was like the last person on the planet to finally see it. Others I found to be "just OK" or at best "good" but not as phenomenally good as I had anticipated:

Knocked Up--what was funny about this movie, besides the idea that Katherine Hiegel would sleep with Seth Rogan?

Superbad--Jonah what's his face (one of the main actors) is annoying and not that funny! I like Michael Cera though

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button--rather long and boring, and I didn't feel we ever really got to know what it was like living as Benjamin aging backwards, though Brad Pitt did play the age differences well.

Slumdog Millionaire--I did enjoy this movie, but I couldn't help when it was done to think "that's it?". I guess because it won an Oscar I expected something more. What, I can't say.

I am sure there are others.

Then there are the movies that you don't expect to be that good that take you by surprise. I will have to ponder those and write about them later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Facebook nightmares

Facebook has been giving me nightmares.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth.

Thanks to the world of social networking, now I can actually see what most of my ex-boyfriends are up to these days. People I haven't thought about, or necessarily wanted to think about for years--their pictures and profiles at the click of my mouse. And lately those exes are haunting my dreams! Mostly strange alternative reality dreams where the ex and I are together in some form or another. I wake up feeling guilty and like I should be confessing to my husband--and my parish priest!

Now I don't have that many ex-boyfriends by any means. Two real ones, a hodge podge of guys I "dated" in some form or another (and no, like Kelly Clarkson, I do not hook up!), and a smattering of old crushes. Only one ex is actually my "facebook friend"--when I signed up, basically it takes your entire email address book and finds who's already on facebook and asks them to be your friend. At the time, I didn't even think about the potential loaded meaning of friending an ex--after all we both knew that we were married and besides a few polite emails we hadn't been in contact in years, and there were definitely no lingering feelings on either side.

The other exes all seem to be friends of friends, which shows how small the world truly is. The other day I saw that my mom friended my high school/early college ex (yes, my mom got on facebook!). I wasn't sure what to think of that! But it did seem to support my theory that my parents' affinity for that ex grew like 10 fold AFTER we broke up. While we were dating I don't think they really liked him that much!

For most of these guys, they are married with kids. Which makes me happy that they found love and so did I (though one looks to be single and not doing much, to which I sneer). It also amazes me how long ago and far away those memories are and, while at times nostaligic, there aren't any burning flames.

So where in my subconscious are these stupid dreams coming from?? Just my brain playing "what if??"

Not only have I been able to peek in on the lives of exes, but I can keep up on the small-town gossip from which I have tried to separate myself. Now I can see not only who's married with kids but who appears to be divorced (already?!) and remarried (to him??) and who's living now in Timbucktoo. Grrr. Why do I care?? But sadly, I do!

I used to believe that there were some people we really weren't meant to ever see or hear from again. It's much harder in this age of communication.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Epilogue

Today, out the blue, I felt inspired to blog again. For awhile things were so busy and hectic that I didn't have the time, or if I had free time I felt that my time should be devoted to other more pertinent things. Now, as I reflect after a slow work week, it seems like a good time to write an epilogue.

A huge focus of my previous blogging dealt with my ongoing struggles with my old job and my ongoing job search. That story came to the climatic and joyous end when, TA DA--I finally got a new job! I left my old job on Friday the 13th of November (a truly lucky day in my book) and haven't looked back since.

I thought it would take months to get the voice of my old supervisor out of my head, but luckily it took only about a week, maybe two at tops. As soon as I was away from there, I had a chance to step back and reflect, finally being out of that situation. I realized how truly unhealthy my last work environment really was...that it really wasn't some kind of scenario I had built up in my head--while we all "hate" our bosses, or so it seems, this was beyond that. The control-freakishness, the passive-aggressiveness, the power struggling, and the neuroticism of my last superivsor had created a work environment that stagnated me, and at times deteriorated me,both personally and professionally. I found myself second-guessing my decisions, being nervous, catching myself between rocks and hard places more and more of the time. And for what? To please someone so unpleasant? To disserve my clients? It's so hard to explain the strangely powerful negative dynamic that was created, except that being out of it and exposed to something so much healthier made me truly realize how unhealthy it was.

From day one at my new job not only did I feel welcomed but I felt truly respected as an individual and a clinician. I wasn't constantly having to prove myself and explain myself. For the first time in over two years, I felt like I was on the same playing ground as my supervisor and the psychiatrist. My credentials and experience seemed to speak for themselves, but so did my own mouth. And I was actually listened to! My decisions were my decisions, they didn't all need "supervisor approval" (though I do value his opinion and actually seek to get his feedback on my decisions). After a week I didn't have to turn in things for my new supervisor to review. He implictly trusted my skills and that I would come to him with questions or problems. Most importantly, I felt like part of a team. A team doing treatment...which has been a great feeling!
(Now, don't get me wrong, I got great support and respect from many of my old co-workers, who were coping with the same neurotic boss, but it was quite overshadowed by the negativity of my old supervisor, who sporadically spit out a "good job" amid emails, voicemails, and post-it notes that implied and stated otherwise. And for the most part it felt like we were all fending for ourselves, between being overloaded and running here and there, there was not much opportunity for comraderie and team building, and it almost seemed frowned upon at times!)

Best of all, I feel more confident in my own clinical skills, more confident than I have felt in a really long time. So when I was told a week ago that my hours would be changing somewhat (from 10 to 6 Monday-Thursday, still 8:30-5 on Fridays), I was pretty much OK with it. Not thrilled about getting home later, but I figure everything else has been worth it. I have really been blessed to have great teens in the program, teens who have wanted to be here and are willing to open up and talk. I have been blessed with helpful, wonderful new co-workers too. The commute hasn't been bad, except for days it has been icy or snowy. And my office is located in a quite quaint and cozy downtown area that I am learning to enjoy.

So a change has really done me a world of good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bye for now

So I realize that only had one post in October. Needless to say, it was a LONG, busy month. It ended on good notes however. New job. Mom doing a little better (relatively speaking). Halloween fun. Sunny, cool fall days and beautiful trees after weeks and weeks of rain.

I am thinking I might put this blog on hiatus for awhile. While writing over this past year has been extremely cathartic, it is one more thing that distracts me from living "real" life. I know in this day and age technology has become interwoven with daily living and inevitably the weaving will continue...but, as more than one church billboard has suggested to me in the past month, "Get off of Facebook and into My Book--God".

I think he's trying to tell me something--Live life with the people you know, love them, serve them, and in doing this you serve me.

Unfortunately so many of the people in my life live several hours away and technology becomes an important part of staying in communication with them! So blogs, Facebook, email, cell phones all help in that respect, so it's pretty unrealistic at this point to remove it all from my daily living.

So maybe I take a break from the blog, try to limit the Facebooking a little more, take advantage of time I have to visit family and friends, read more books, find other hobbies (gardening did prove to be a good one! though I got so busy and distracted before it got cold I did miss harvesting some oregano and other spices--now I need a winter hobby!), find time to serve others. I am looking forward to this job change as a turning point, a time to make other changes in my life so I can be more like the person I want to be.

Bye for awhile.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Long overdue update

Wow, so it's really been awhile. So much has been going on lately that I have had to neglect a few things, one being my blog. So here's a run down of events.

(WARNING: Reading the following blog may induce symptoms similar to Bipolar Disorder)

1) I FINALLY GOT A NEW JOB!!!! Hallelujah!! After over a year of searching and interviewing, last week I finally got the call that I was being offered a new job. Intially it felt surreal--after so many interviews, so many times leaving the interview feeling confident, only to have follow up calls and emails not returned, and then only to get the form letter or generic email that the position was filled with someone whose "qualifications most closely match those of the position"--finally I was that person whose qualifications matched the job. In the past week I have thought of those others who applied for this position and were never even called for a first interview, and those who went to interviews and then didn't get the call backs or those who went for a few interviews never to get the final call. I felt for them, being through it so many times. I try to rationalize that everything happens in its own time and for a reason and that this was finally my time and my season.

So this Monday I gave my boss the letter I have been wishing I could give her for over a year, that I am resigning. She took it shockingly well. I think she might have known it was coming. More on that later.

By the way, in case you are curious, my new position is working as a therapist through a hospital doing an intensive outpatient therapy program for adolescents. I have always found adolescents to be challenging; in some ways I enjoy them the most, because unlike little children you can do more "real" therapy with them, if they are willing to engage--which brings up the challenge--IF they are willing to engage! Nothing is more difficult than a bratty 15 year staring you down and refusing to talk. So, we'll see. I will miss the little ones, I love working with little kids and doing lots of my own brand of art and play therapy, which in the end usually feels more like having play dates than therapy. But I am so excited for working 8:30-5:00pm Monday-Friday, NO on-call shifts, and NO home visits.

I know no job is perfect and that this one won't be either, that I will have bad days and tough days, but I hope and pray that it's a better experience than my current place of employment (though I do have several co-workers I will miss and some clients too). I just hope this is a place where I can finally take root and get comfortable and feel like I can stay awhile and grow professionally.

Thanks to all my friends and family for their support during this long job search process!

2) So before and during all of that, my mom has been in and out of the hospital. I can't even recall where I left off describing that saga--she's been in for psychiatric treatment and then in again for medical treatment. Without going into lots of details of her personal information, which I am sure she wouldn't want me to share on the internet (well, maybe she wouldn't care, she does tend to be an open book with others about her multitude of illnesses), her physical and mental health have been up and down (mostly down) and it's been pretty hard on me. I now live about four hours away from her and I am torn, I feel guilty and wish I were closer to see her and help out more, but if I were it would probably consume my life, trying to help her and she's really at the point she needs help but she really needs to help herself. She has become pretty dependent on others to monitor her health and to care for her rather than her take charge and care for herself, which is part of the problem, and what a complex problem it is. I think I will leave it at that, rather than go into all the details.

3) And so while all of this was going on I have had some encounters with my boss that were pretty negative. Actually they could have been worse in many ways, but they definitely didn't make for a friendly work environment. Basically she scolded me several times for not keeping her up to date on issues with some of my clients and for doing things without "supervisor approval" (which for her pretty much everything needs her approval). I do understand that supervisors have obvious responsibilities and I should have done better at communicating with her about several issues. But it's really hard when you have a boss who 90% is cold and judgemental and is kind and supportive only about 10% of the time. It's a crap shoot and makes difficult situations even that much harder. Once I leave this job, if I never hear the term "supervisor approval" again I will be very happy. Luckily the people I interviewed with at my new job seem pretty relaxed and hopefully will let me work more autonomously. I feel like the more I work independently the more confident I am in what I do, instead of everything being "I have to check my with supervisor on that." Ick!

I realize that these are some of the main issues I have tended to blog about--job hunting, work, and my mom's health. Finally the work/job hunt issue gets resolved....I will keep everyone posted on how the new job goes.

I know my mom's health will be an ongoing battle. Prayers are appreciated.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Me vs. Food

So, I have been ranting about work over and over again lately, so today I will take a break and rant about something weight.

(Oh no, you say, not this old rant again! But yes, here it comes again!)

Last week I went for my annual physical and got up on the scale and, just as I feared, saw the largest number I have ever seen. And no, I won't share that specific number with you. As we all know doctor's scales always seem to add a few pounds, and I had my shoes on, but even minus a few pounds the number is still way higher than it should be.

I wasn't completely surprised, as my bathroom scale was telling me a similar story a few days before. The doctor didn't comment on my weight gain, which now I wish I had asked what I weighed when I was in last year. I am guessing it's close to 10 pounds, maybe a little less.

As I sit and contemplate how I gained more weight, the obvious answer is that I am consuming more calories than I am burning. Duh. End of story. During our recent week off my husband and I ate out quite a bit (I guess so it would feel more like "vacation"), and everytime I turn around it seems like it's another wedding, shower, family party or other get together that involves eating and eating and more eating. And I just have no will power it seems. I never really have. I just love food and love to eat!

Looking back, I have always been the kind of person who went through phases of being slightly more chubby and then slimming down and losing weight, usually without consciously trying as a side effect of stress, anxiety, or being really busy. I have always been the kind of person who loses their appetite when feeling really anxious, preoccupied, or worried. However, I am also the kind of person who tends to eat emotionally, usually when depressed, stressed, or bored. In addition, now that I am married it seems that I just feel more comfortable and lax so I hardly think twice about skipping workouts and eating a few extra cookies, chips, pasta, or pizza. Add that with working (and thus eating) late three days of the week, family showers and parties like every other weekend, plus having an occasional soda, iced coffee, latte, and you have a pretty good recipe for extra calorie consumption.

Of the less important things in life, few can be more frustrating and discouraging than finding that your pants that were once loose now fit and pants that once fit are now getting tight. I face the reality of needing to make a much more conscious effort to make some changes or buy new pants.

Because I love food and love to eat, strict or strange diets are probably out (Master cleanse anyone? ick!)Probably the easiest steps I can take are to cut down my portions, plan ahead and bring my lunch to avoid fast food runs while working, and simply keeping better track of what exactly I eat and drink. Oh, and exercising more of course! I obviously need to either step up my work out or just go more consistently, or more ideally, both!

I will keep you posted on my progress.