In Which Pandora is a Mood Changer by mary elizabeth

I may have mentioned Pandora before, and how I put time and energy into training it not to disappoint me. I’m happy to say I’ve got it pretty well bent to my will and can go days and days without hearing any Journey or that horrible song about just laying here. On the positive side, I’ve “liked” so many songs I like that hardly any time can go by without hearing one and no matter how tense I find myself at work, a song of which I’m fond can always calm me right down. This is a good thing. If you had any idea how tense I get out in the real  world, you’d understand. And some kooky station I have as part of my mix plays “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies. That is a song that always cheers me up, no matter how frantic my day is. I first heard it as a child when I cut a forty-five out of the back of some cereal box and played it on my close’n’play. Super sweet!

The other night, I had to fix a home haircut administered by my daughter to her own head. It was nice, and reminiscent of a sweeter time. In her defense I haven’t had to do this in years and years, and the fixing was light years less necessary than it was then. And as I said, it was nice. I was surprised she trusted me. Anyhow, we listened to her Pandora stations while I snipped away and although I don’t claim to love all her music, there were some cross overs.  It was pleasant. The stuff good moods are made of.

Everywhere You Go by mary elizabeth

Last weekend, my daughter and my friend Kerry and the world’s cutest dog went on a road trip.  This weekend I am working and getting ready for a visit from the landlord.  Last weekend was fun and full of laughs.  This one, not so much.  But – there’s a lot going on at work, at least, and I’m feeling sort of proud of myself because I’m not letting the landlord’s home invasion send me into a frenzy of fear and anxiety.  That may not sound like a big deal, but everything sends me into frenzies of fear and anxiety, so this is real progress.  Or – just a big fat load of denial.  I mean, there may actually be something to fear in this one.  It’s her house and she can through us out if she wants to.  But I’ve decided that all the anxious fear I can muster won’t change the situation, so let’s just tidy up and rock it like grown ups.  Grown ups with messy children.

I used to be a homeowner but now my ex is and I just get to nomadically move from rental to rental at the whim and misfortune of others.  My life, at least the physical manifestation of it, is in the hands of yet another power greater than myself.  But – as usual – that just pushes me to find a deeper, more spiritual life for which only I’m responsible.  Me and the good old universe.  What’s the opposite of fear and anxiety?  Comfort and balance, maybe.  And if I’ve learned anything at all in life, it’s that those only come from the inside.  Homes and jobs and things like that certainly help, but I can be a wreck with all of that – quite frequently am.  So – no hilarious road trip this weekend, but there’s still plenty to enjoy.   I’m going to go enjoy house work and try to remember that anywhere I go, there I am so I better be glad to see me.

Big Picture by mary elizabeth

I’ve been feeling extra anxious lately.  And a little angry, too.  Anxiety’s an old friend but anger is something I would normally leave to the experts.  I recently had one of those flukey experiences that, although completely accidental and in no way indicative of the norm, confirm all of one’s paranoia and suspicions about the hostility of the universe.  Told you so, universe!  Anyhow – now that the initial shock and humiliation have started to wear off, I feel a tad miffed.  And I’m starting to lose my patience with some on-going frustrations in my life, too.  But – I don’t really know how to be angry and I certainly don’t want these external factors to influence my actual life, so I’m trying to find the courage to let it all go to a recently proven to be untrustworthy universe and get on with it.

My life is pretty good right now, to be honest, and all evidence points to its just getting better. When I can relax for a couple of seconds, I’m actually enjoying it.  Normally – every time a little stability comes along, I get restless and start making changes. Chaos feels natural; tranquility makes me anxious. Whatever…I’m trying to rock it a little differently now. Maybe feeling a little more outraged and a little less victimized is a part of the whole picture. The whole big picture of my life.  Or just some more monkeyshine.

Fort Bragg Prison Blues by mary elizabeth

Three of the people very closest to my heart just hate it here: my daughter, my boyfriend and my dear friend Kerry. I don’t really blame them and all three of them make valid points. It is a very small town and there’s absolutely nothing to do if you’re between the ages of 12 and 72. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone you wish you didn’t know. Everything’s always closed. On those rare occasions when the sun comes out, it’s too windy to enjoy it. Anything that goes wrong, they blame on poor old Fort Bragg.  And you know what? I’d like nothing better than to jump on that crabby little band wagon with them.

But that wouldn’t help my “bloom where you’re planted” philosophy at all. Mainly because this philosophy is a relatively new one and I am clinging to it most tenuously. Dissatisfaction with the hand I’ve been dealt is a hard habit to break.  For one thing, you can’t feel sorry for yourself anymore.  I mean, you can’t be the victim of circumstances you embrace. You can’t cry over milk you’re happy you spilt. I have to tell you, though, thinking this way has made my life so much more bearable for the forty to forty-five minutes a day I’m actually able to master it. Try it! My three little nay-sayers are beyond help, but that’s okay. Not only do I love them anyway, they make me look so spirtually superior! Life is good.

Star Light, Star Bright…by mary elizabeth

As my very dear and also very wise friend Kate said, you can’t wish your self thinner. Evidently the law af attraction works on all sorts of things like money and matrimony and success – but if you want to lose a few pounds, you actually have to exercise and put that cookie down. I mean – believe it or not – ever since I put that “cash” in my wallet, we’ve been the happy recipients of all sorts of unexpected money. So,  I actually thought if I just wished hard enough, I could lose a few pounds. Evidently not.

Body image is a weird thing. It takes a really balanced person to see themselves as they are, let alone accept what they see.  I mean – let’s face it – if you can’t button your jeans anymore you’ve obviously put on some weight. But is that always a bad thing? I don’t think so. I’ve been pretty obsessed with my weight lately,though, whipping up a real midlife eating disorder. But of course, the issue isn’t the extra pounds. It’s my old friend self-esteem. And here in midlife, I know if I wake up twenty pounds lighter tomorrow I won’t actually feel any happier until I get myself back to a place of confidence, gratitude and inner peace. If I felt better about myself, I wouldn’t be all that concerned about a few pounds, and now that I think about it – would probably lose them, too. So – wait a minute – maybe I can wish those pounds away…

Abduction by mary elizabeth

I’m pretty sure aliens abducted my boyfriend. I didn’t see it happen or anything, but the evidence is strong!  Just like in the movies, I keep asking whatever it is they left in his place test questions and it keeps failing.

 For example:

Me: My company picnic is on Sunday. Should I get you a ticket?

“Boyfriend”: Of course! I’ll make sure I’m off work in time.

 Or how about this:

Me: I have to work on the 4th of July. Would you be willing to take the kids to the parade and then to the park for the fair?

“Boyfriend”: Sure!

 See? Clearly not him. My actual boyfriend hates picnics and parades and fun. He hates doing anything that’s community spirited. Evidently, the aliens based my boyfriend’s replacement on some amalgam of the “typical American boyfriend” and not him specifically.  But – I’m thinking I may adjust to life with this replicant.  I may even grow to love it in time. I kind of miss my angry little rock star, though.

Water Witch by mary elizabeth

So – is this a global problem, or just a local one? Our water bill was a twitch over a hundred dollars this month. A HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! Does that seem reasonable? It’s not like it’s distilled or flavored or anything. We don’t have a hot tub or a fountain or even a garden. We just wash ourselves and our dishes. This bill also covers our participation in the city sewer system which I’m not quite ready to opt out of yet, but this last bill does make me wonder if I shouldn’t cost out monthly portapotty rates, just in case. Expenses just keep growing more quickly than cash. I’m not sure we actually have a hundred dollars to spend on this each month but what’s the alternative?

There isn’t one as far as the city water department is concerned, meaning it’s us who need to figure something out on our side. A part time job for poor old Mary Elizabeth? Monthly yard sales? I just don’t know. Do I really want to work weekends just so I can continue to flush my toilet? How long do you think they’d let me keep the job I do have if I cut back to bi-weekly showers? It’s a puzzle, but one I feel like I’ve already done. We just keep cutting back and cutting back further. Thank goodness I’m such a whiz at smiling in the face of adversity. Maybe I should write a gratitude list and start it off with “clean water” and “indoor plumbing”. Maybe I should Google some people and places where these things can’t even be bought. Maybe I should dig a well.  I’ll let you know how it goes…