The Good Child

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I used to be that. I was the one that didn’t get into trouble. And when I did get into trouble, it *pained* me. I worked long and hard my whole life to “go along to get along”.

But not always. And not as much lately.

Been doing a lot of “head work”. You know the kind where you go sit on a couch and talk about your feelings? It’s hard work, but as I work at it, I find, I don’t always like sitting there being a good girl anymore.

And that’s ok. What’s not ok is the guilt I still have about it.

Tonight I went to the book club at my local library. For this month, we read “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Relin.

The book, roughly, is about a guy who tried to scale K2 in Pakistan, but didn’t make it to the summit. While wandering around, hungry, disoriented and lost, he finds himself in the tiny village of Korphe, where the villagers care for him. While there he sees the sad state of schools in the village, children study outside and share a teacher with another village, and vows to build them a school. This sets off a long journey around building a series of schools in a fairly hostile country.

It’s a wonderful story. But in my opinion, the writing in the book is truly awful. And this is a book club, right?

So the discussion group I attend, it’s mostly elderly folks. They are really wonderful and I enjoy them. But I get tired of the need for everyone to agree. Every time the book club starts, the librarian asks, “how did everyone like the book.” Everyone always likes the book. Everyone but one. Me.

I have become, in the bounds of this book club, the proverbial turd in the punchbowl.

And the cheese stands alone.

I don’t *try* to be disagreeable. I just like a lively discussion. But I think these fine folks think I’m a rabble-rouser.

Which, if you know me, is pretty funny. I’m feisty, sure, but there is that whole ingrained “go along to get along” thing.

Maybe this therapy thing is working? Because tonight I’m ALL fired up. I do feel a little guilty for not being the good girl, but I’m working through it. I am not sure the people enjoyed my point of view, but I thought I made some darn good points.

We don’t *always* have to agree in order to get along. Right?

Or is that just me……………

Best line of the day**

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(**Borrowing heavily from the NewMexiKen playbook, with acknowledgement)

Found in this brief story in the ABQjournal.

Background: a 24-year old man pleads guilty to shooting, from his moving vehicle no less, nine sheep or goats and one dog. That’s, count ’em, three felonies.

Shooting, for no good reason, really. Boredom? Borracho? Both?

“I have no idea what they were thinking, and I would venture a guess that they’re probably wondering what they were thinking then, too,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien said.

That gave me a chuckle over lunch at my desk. Hope it’s true. A little after-the-fact remorse is a good thing, in this case.

I have served my debt to society.

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(Gad, I’m *such* a drama queen….hee!)

: hand to forehead :

As of today, ladies and gents, I have fulfilled my obligation to God, humanity and the Superior Court of Santa Clara County.

You may recall that back in October, I ran afoul of one of California’s finest. Yes, our fair heroine was taken down by the CHP. She was only trying to get home after a terribly long day at work. And in order to get home sooner, she thought that going 90mph in a 65 zone was appropriate.

Now if you knew my hoopty of an automobile, pushing it at 90mph is no small feat. I’d considered going to court to fight it since the officer said he didn’t have a radar. Instead he set his cruise control at 75mph and said I was pulling away.

I came home and Googled the officer’s name and found out he’s a highly decorated and well-respected member of the force. So I knew that was a losing battle.

I also looked at the table of fines and realized I *may* have been doing more than 90mph, but he gave me the ticket at 90. Were I cited going faster than 90mph, the penalties (meaning the cost) went up dramatically at that clip level. So he kind of sort of did me a favor. Also, I didn’t have my most current insurance card in the car (I’d *just* gotten it in the mail). The officer could have cited me for that, but instead looked it up online (my insurance reports to the DMV so he can see if it’s current).

So after careful consideration, I decided to just pay the “bail”. And thus a point was assigned to my driving record.

A fact I’m cheesed about. Did you know that in the ten almost eleven years I’ve lived in California I’ve never, not once, gotten a ticket for speeding? A couple parking tickets, yes, but nothing else. Indignant! Yes I was.

Well, California offers the opportunity to take driving school and thus mask the point on your record from view (meaning your insurance company is none the wiser). They’ve recently begun offering the driving school online where you can work at your own pace.

So yesterday morning in the midst of the Storm To End All Storms, I decided to begin work on my online driver’s training. I had until mid-February to complete it.

Well…let me tell you…this online driver’s course was no easy thing. Time consuming. And BORING. True, I got to work through it in my jammies and in the comfort of my home, but DAMN!

About a third of the way through a very LONG day, I told The Cute Boy™, “boy am I sorry I did 90mph!”

So it worked. They got remorse out of me.

It didn’t help that the power went out after I’d been working on it several hours. Ugh. I finally finished at 9:00pm last night. It was a long grueling trudge to the finish line.

Today I went to the “in person” location and took the written test to thus complete the course and end this debacle. And because I’m such a freaking overachiever, not only was I nervous, but I got 100% on the test.

So now, gentle audience, it can be said that I, the criminal, have done my time, done my penance, paid my debt to society, suffered for my sins, carried the cross of my shame, and can tear the scarlet speed limit sign from my chest and begin to rebuild my life as a member of society.

(And to reward my hard work, The Cute Boy™ took me to see a movie. The Golden Compass. Yay!)

Thus ends the drama of the Nice Girl Who Turned Bad on Highway 280.

fin

Have yourself a Merry Little…

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…whatever holiday you celebrate. I make no assumptions here.

The Casa de Karen and The Cute Boy™ is in tumult as we clean and scrub and prepare for guests tomorrow. I’m not much of a hostess with the mostess, so entertaining in my home always makes me a skosh edgy. Plus, among the guests tomorrow is Mother of The Cute Boy™ and in my silly female way, I’m still trying *very* hard to make a good impression on her. She’s a wonderful woman, a great cook and raised the man I love, so her opinion matters, you know? I tend to twist myself into a knot about it.

The food is all stocked in the fridge. The feline is unhappy about all the kerfuffle as we sweep and mop and vacuum. She thinks we all should be taking a nap. Have I mentioned that in my next life I want to be my cat? She’s got it real good around here.

I think things will all come together. Pretty much when you get good eats and good people together, magic happens. Joyful magic and I could use a bit of that in my life.

Meanwhile, everybody, enjoy your family, friends, homemade family (cuz the one you’re related to are intolerable), yourownselves, your pets and your holiday cheer.

And if the going gets tough, spike the egg nog.

Photo by Karen Fayeth

Guilt.

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I have it.

What is it, exactly, about the holidays that makes guilt so possible?

True, I’m an easily guilted child. A fact my folks used to great advantage when raising me. And yet, the month of December seems to be the guilt month, no doubt.

Owing to my Catholic upbringing (I’m no longer practicing), guilt was sort of woven into my early life. And in the good Catholic tradition, confession is good for the soul…

I feel guilty that my mom is alone for the holidays. I mean, she’s not *really* alone, my aunt and uncle are nearby and look after her, but since my dad passed, she’s had a tough time of it. I shouldn’t feel guilty. My folks weren’t very people oriented, so they had few friends. In my mom’s waning years, she doesn’t have that many people to rely on and she’s honestly burned a few bridges with her children. She keeps wanting me to move closer to her. I just can’t (for many reasons). And years of hard mental work have told me that taking care of myself is important (and isn’t selfish). And so despite the fact that it’s the right thing for me to be here and live my life, I still feel guilty.

I feel guilty that I’ve been so involved in work and trying to finish up that I haven’t paid enough attention to my home life. The Cute Boy™ and The Feline are fine, they love me, support me, are happy I made it through. I guess I want to be all things to all people (and pets). I tend to take on all this guilt when I can’t be “perfect”. Ugh, what’s with that?

I feel guilty that I’ve eaten too many holiday cookies. :)

I feel guilty that I got my Christmas cards out late. I know, not a crime, but damnit! How hard is it to send out a few cards? (Hard enough when you are working too much and are exhausted….there goes that perfectionist thing again.)

I feel guilty that my job is a decent job and pays reasonably well but I actually don’t like it and want more than anything to flee. I should be more grateful for everything that place has done for me, and yet I just cringe going in there every day. I’ll spend the next two weeks pondering this one. I’ve reached critical mass. Time to you-know-what or get off the pot about this topic.

And of course, I feel guilty that I haven’t managed to update my blog most of this past week and so here it is, 7:40am on my first day off and I’m writing up a guilt post.

Good lord my brain is a complex place.

So as of this moment, I grant myself absolution. I don’t even have to do an act of contrition, I’m pretty contrite already.

My penance is to love myself a little more today. To ease up a bit. To hug my man and cat a bit more and to enjoy the hell out of my Christmas holidays.

Now I shall go out and make it so.