Category Archives: my experiences

Using the “don’t mess with me” voice

I hate confrontation.  So much so that I don’t always stand up for myself.

I got a new pair of glasses last April from LensCrafters.  Paid a pretty penny because I am vain and won’t wear bifocals with the line so I get the Progressive lenses.  I wouldn’t accept the first lenses they installed in the frame because I could see the laser marks on the lens.  The second set of lenses were fine.

I wore these glasses about 3 months when two cracks developed in one corner of the right lens.  The cracks didn’t impair my vision so I just let it go.  A few more months went by and the cracks got worse and minor cracks started developing on the left side of the left lens.

I decided to go to a Eye Mart and get a new pair of glasses.  Once my new glasses came in I took the pair I had been wearing back to LensCrafters and demanded they replace the defective lenses.  The clerk told me that there was nothing she could do.  I put on my don’t mess with me voice and said, “Yes, you can, you can get me a manager or the number to corporate because someone will be replacing these defective lenses.”

Poor clerk looked a little taken aback but she did go get the manager.  The manager took one look at the lenses and said, “Order new lenses these are obviously defective.”

I am glad I took a stand and didn’t let myself get pushed around.  I am always afraid of being perceived as being a bitch but taking a stand and demanding quality products that I purchase with my hard earned money is not being bitchy.  Too bad it took me 40+ years to learn that lesson.

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Losing Weight

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I am a big girl, obese if you use the medical terminology.  I have struggled with my weight and body perception my entire life.  As a child I was constantly compared to my older by 14 months sister.  She was blonde haired, blued eyed, taller than I by inches.  I was the brown eyed, brown haired, short, freckled, slightly chubby kid.  I look at pictures of myself and my older sister and I was not a FAT child, I was slightly overweight but no where near the fatty fatty two by four my parents (especially my mother) made me believe about myself.

That warped body perception has followed my for most of my life. I know I am an obese woman but when I look in the mirror I see a not bad looking heavy woman.  When I see photographs of myself I am horrified by what I see.  Oh, the rose colored glasses we wear when we look in the mirror.

2012 started off well with a daily workout regimen, I wasn’t losing a lot of weight but I was breathing easier and my body was firmer due to muscle strengthening.  Then my car broke down and the stress of getting that repair done and the emotional helplessness I felt just derailed my plans and goals.

The last few months of 2012 saw me spiraling down in depression.  I was taking my anti-depressant and that kept the self harm thoughts away but I wasn’t taking care of myself.  My dental hygienist and hairdresser mentioned they could see the lack of care.

The beginning of 2013 I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My kids gave me a Kuerig coffee maker so I started lowering my daily caloric intake beginning with fluids.  I am avoiding artificial sweeteners so I am careful to measure the sugar and dairy products I put in my coffee.  I brought in a glass I like to drink out of to work so I am drinking more water throughout the day.  I allow myself one soft drink a day and generally I only drink half a can and finish it the following day.

Next, I changed my breakfast habit.  Breakfast is now a sliced banana, orange and crushed granola bar.  Mid morning snack is a Greek yogurt.

Third change was lunch.  I chop up several stalks of celery, a tomato, half a cucumber, and a small avocado.  At lunch I heat up about 3-4 ounces of either lean beef strips or chopped chicken and add that to the chopped vegetables.

For dinners, I eat whatever I cook for the kids just in smaller portions.  I pay attention to each bite to determine am I still hungry or am I continuing to eat just to clean my plate.

I do allow myself a  small sweet after dinner.  A bite sized candy such as a mini reese’s peanut butter cup or a single cookie.  This way I don’t feel deprived.

I am two weeks into this new way of thinking about eating and 5 lbs are gone.  That is half the depression weight I gained.  I am going to hold off on starting back to the work out regime I did last year until I am more fully immersed in the new eating habits.  I don’t want to derail the good that I have accomplished by pushing too hard.

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Building a team

Building a cohesive work team is not easy.  Our help desk team is down one member and the process of refilling that position has begun.  Our last teammate was not a team player.  Ego out the wazoo, chauvinistic pig attitude, his idea of customer service was closing more tickets per day than anyone else.  We were happy to see him go.

The hiring manager recently called two of us on the help desk team to sit in on the second interview with a promising applicant.  The two of us were previously hiring managers so we knew the legal do’s and don’ts as far as questions that could be asked.  I like the idea of having team members meet applicants to see if personalities mesh.

Spending 1/3 of each day in an office with 10 other people one bad apple can truly spoil the barrel.  Being a team player doesn’t mean you have to like every person on the team but you have to be willing to work together and compromise.  You don’t have to always see eye to eye but you do have to respect one another’s differences.

I like the fact our team gets along well despite the differences.  We are not what most people imagine IT personnel to be.  Granted we have some members who are solid gamers, voracious readers but we also have athletes and total outdoorsmen.   We dog each other, take as good as we dish out.  We push each other to better the entire department.

My hope is that once the new team member comes on board our barrel will be full with no bad seeds spoiling the mix.

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Online dating…ugh

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I have done the online dating, both paid and free sites.  I have heard and actually met a few people who met their current spouse/significant other online so I thought I would give it a try.  Here are some lessons learned based on my less than stellar experiences.  In no particular order….

1 – it isn’t easy

2 – All the hype about having a good written profile is hype, better to have a good picture.  I think I only had one man comment about the profile I spent hours writing.

3 – people lie…a lot

4 – scammers are prolific

5 – you learn to translate very quickly ie “I’m not looking for dates just someone to talk to” = I am married/have a girlfriend and “maybe fun” = I want a booty call/sex

6 – being “cougar age” chances are better than not you will be contacted by men much younger than your stated age range

7 – be careful asking for pictures, if  you are a woman asking a man for a picture chances are better than not you will get….to be delicate…a friend calls them pickle shots

8 – if you do decide to email one another outside of the website learn how to strip the headers off the email and trace the IP addresses to verify that you aren’t emailing someone overseas

update 2/15/13   In the last two days have been contacted by two scammers, and one “mature for my age” 25 year old.  This is to top off the month long experiment of trying the online thing again.  In the 4 weeks I was on I had zero contact with anyone who was either real or age appropriate.  It is time to throw in the towel again with the online dating thing.

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Women who suck and those who don’t

Today was totally and thoroughly ruined by a couple of women.

I have cried a thousand tears over accusations that I am a horrible parent.  Raising children is never easy. Each child has their own personality and you try (sometimes desperately) to let them know you love them unconditionally. I think every parent goes through difficult times with each of their children and it is how they each (parent and child) handle those rough times that foretells the future. I know I made mistakes but I did the best I could. I gave 100% to my kids and I said I am sorry whenever I knew I was wrong. As my children have become adults I have given them their autonomy to make their decisions about me. I have learned from conversations with my sister and other conversations with my adult children that our memories of events are clouded by our own perceptions. I take responsibility for my own shortcomings where my kids are concerned, none of them know the tears the I have shed worrying I have damaged them.

A good friend of mine has started the awful process of getting divorced.  And his soon to be ex-spouse is attempting to ruin his life.  She has spread allegations that could get him in deep trouble.  As much as I despised my ex when I was leaving my marriage I would never have attempted to ruin his life like she is doing.  Even with the demise of a union, civility should rein, especially when children are involved.  Never should any person ruin the life of the person who is the other parent to their children.   It is hard to be a supportive friend when you live thousands of miles away but I will do my best to be the person my friend can count on for support.

My women friends were so supportive during this day of angst.  I love how different we all are but as mothers, coworkers and friends you couldn’t ask for better women to surround yourself with.

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Lessons learned from a couple of movies

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“Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man,”

I truly don’t believe I have to have a man in my life to be happy but it sure would be nice to have someone other than my children in my life to share my love with.

I wonder sometimes, when I married, did I really love him.  Or was I so afraid of being alone I held on for dear life to the first person who wanted to marry me.  Actually, he was the second person to say they wanted to marry me but the first I don’t count because I was a young teenager when he professed his love and said I want to marry you.  Right now I think I am in love with a man who lives 3000 miles away from me.  But I cry more often than I smile when I think about him, and that isn’t love.  My two best friends asked me these two questions; “Are you hanging on to him because you are afraid you won’t find anyone else?” and “Are you hanging on to him to justify leaving your marriage?”  The answer to the first question is yes.  The answer to the second on is no, I didn’t leave my marriage for any man, I left my marriage to save my life.  It’s a coincidence that I met this man in the same time frame that I was leaving.

The movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” has some terrific lessons.  “Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we’re told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe… it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is… just… moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.”   I don’t want my happy ending to be moving on.  The thought of being alone for the rest of my life happy or not makes me cry.

I try to remind myself that all these negative thoughts are coming from my winter time depression.  I know that December – January is my depression season.  I need to stop thinking about relationships, about men in general, and focus on me.

And so ends another whiny blog post.  Get over yourself, Robin.

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A scream for attention…and….nothing

“I can’t seem to shut off my brain, worrying about things I have no control over, scared that at the end of the day I will be lost and alone and no one will even care because I am so forgettable.  It’s no wonder that I feel ignored…it’s not that anyone is ignoring me…it’s they forget I am even here.”

I couldn’t sleep last night.  And like a drunk that can’t stop themselves I sent that text to someone I love with all my heart who…well, he tells me he loves me but…I don’t know.  Since it has been 3 hours since he woke up and I haven’t gotten a reply, I really feel forgotten and unloved.

I know these are real feelings, I know they are being nourished by depression.  What I don’t know is how to weed this garden of negativity.  Is it time to prune this person from my life?  Probably…he is going through a really hard life change right now and I would hate to add to his burden.  I know I need to love myself enough to let go…you hear that really loud but looming don’t you.

No rash decisions, not until I get the sleep I need and am on a firmer foundation of stable emotions.

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Early mornings

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I am a morning person.  I love waking up early.  The earth is still quiet.

I like to shower first thing in the morning, in semi-darkness, with music playing low in the background, hot water pounding down.  I like good smelling shampoo and feeling the bubbles slide down my body.  I prefer liquid soap on a poof to bar soap.  I like to put conditioner in my hair and then just stand in the hot spray of water, thinking while the conditioner softens my hair. Stepping out of the shower I like to put my hair up in a turban and wrap a body sheet around my warm, red skinned body.  I then escape the steamy, humid bathroom.  I hate trying to dress in all that humidity, no matter how dry I get the humidity makes me feel clammy. I dress in my bedroom where I feel dry not clammy while I put on the day’s attire.

When it snows in the mornings, stepping out of my home is like walking into my perfect world.  All you can hear is the snow drifting down.  I love that sound, almost as much as I love the sound of thunder during a rainstorm.

I like getting to my office before anyone else.  We keep the lights off in the office, there is one fixture that always stays on so it is not complete darkness, just enough light to see.  I can turn my music up and not hear any complaints.  I am not an overly social person so not having to listen to mindless chatter allows me to work and concentrate.

As much as I like darkness and silence, you would think nights would be my favorite but it is the new beginning of each day that lifts my spirits.

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Tradition

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Is it a family tradition if only one member of the family enjoys the activity?

Tromping through the Alaska woods rarely yields anything other than a Charlie Brown looking tree.  And I recommend everyone do it once.  Yet, my now ex husband insisted that every year the kids go with him to cut down a tree because it was a “tradition”.  The kids hated it.  They would choose a tree and he would say lets mark this one and look to see if we can find a better one.  And off they tromped in knee deep snow without snowshoes, getting colder and more miserable with each passing minute.

We had so many ornaments the kids had made and ornaments passed down from family that these Charlie Brown trees couldn’t hold them all.  We had a couple of artificial trees but he refused to use them unless we lived somewhere we couldn’t cut down our own tree.

The year the kids got old enough to start balking at this “tradition” he yelled at them, pouted, then refused to put up a tree at all that year.

Traditions are fantastic, as long as all parties want to participate.  Remember, what was fun when children were five won’t be quite as fun when they are fifteen.  Make your traditions ones that are meaningful and ageless.

I, personally, love the tradition that the first Christmas decoration to be put up is the Nativity.  This is an ageless tradition that doesn’t require a lot of effort or time.

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What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

One single experience, hmmm, that is tough.  I like to think I have been molded and shaped by the accumulation of my life experiences.  Recently it’s been realizations of past experiences that is giving me pause for thought.  This post will have the word “I” in it a lot.  Should my family read this, these thoughts are my reality and if I offend, from the bottom of my heart that is not my intent.  I am going to limit myself to five growing up experiences to highlight how they have effected my grown up life.

I grew up a traditional middle class family.  Dad worked hard, Mom stayed home to raise us three girls.

I always felt sightly unloved by my Mom.  When I was young it didn’t occur to me to think much about it. I just knew that my older sister got a lot more attention than I did and my baby sister was (as is expected) slightly spoiled. That feeling of being unloved by the one that should love me unconditionally led me to stay in a marriage where I felt most undecidedly unloved for way too many years before I left.

I recently got outside of family confirmation of how I was treated by my Mother. I was always told I was chubby (when Mom was feeling generous) or fat (most of the time).  I look at pictures of myself when I was younger and…I was a pretty typically sized child.  As compared to my sister who was always 3-4 inches taller than me, yes, I looked heavier but I was by no means a fat child.  I blame my mother for my warped sense of body image.  Even when I was extremely thin (I have a picture where my collarbones are protruding from my body in a rather unattractive manner) I thought I was fat.  I am lucky to never have developed an eating disorder.  So now that I am an obese adult, because of my warped body image, I see but don’t really see all the excess weight I carry. Thankfully I like myself, every extra pound of me, I like.

I always felt ignored by my parents.  I have a really hard time with this concept of being ignored.  I oftentimes feel ignored when I feel enough attention is not being paid to me.  How selfish of a statement is that?  When I care about someone I spend a lot of time thinking about them and try to let them know in small ways.  I can’t explain this very well, just because I find it easy to send a quick text, email, note whatever, I need to realize not everyone does.  I am working on this, a lot; mainly because I am in a long distance relationship with a man with whom it seems grand gestures were the expected norm.  He is finally realizing that, for me, the small gestures mean the most.  A good morning text will start my day with a smile and makes me feel loved.  Small, simple gesture – huge, huge payoff.

The next two experiences that colored my life and way of thinking are of selfishness and an unforgiving nature.  Again, my mother is the center of realization.  She was an unforgiving and selfish human. The example of these two character traits happened in the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school.  Our flag corps team was going to UNM for band camp.  We had to raise the funds as a team to go and the money was going to be split evenly between all the girls and the extra amount had to be paid by the families.  My sister and I were both on the flag corps team so my parents would obviously be picking up the difference for two participants.  My mother selfishly thought that the families of girls sending a single participant should give up some of the funding they were being given in order to save her money.  She particularly thought one of the girls who joined right at the end of the school year should give up all her funding.  She never forgave this girl for standing up for herself and her family in telling my mother they would not give up their portion of the funds raised as a team.  Growing up, because I looked just like my mom I thought I was just like her.  Our sameness ends at skin level.  I forgive quickly and easily, oftentimes to my own detriment.  I am generous to a fault.  This trait leaves me not very good at handling money.  I am trying to learn to reign in my forgiveness and generosity when not earned or deserved, but I am failing miserably at this.  I love the fact that I can forgive easily.  My generosity may leave me with money worries but my spirit is overflowing and sometimes that matters more than a fat bank account.

It’s sad that I carry this baggage.  As much as I work on overcoming my childhood angst it rears its ugly head more often than I like.  In a weird way I am glad for the bad example I was given, I am a better parent and a better human in living my life counter to the example I was given by my Mother.

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