Just crap

That describes so much: my mood, my general situation and possibly what I’ll have for lunch.

I  am accepting that I probably won’t find a job until the first of the year, at the earliest. That’s at least 2 months, 2 more months of being broke, feeling like a loser and bum, 2 more months of nothing. My sister is letting me stay with her and I’m kicking in some for the bills, from my savings which are slowly dwindling down. Like feeling sand slowly slipping through your fingers, down your palm and disappearing. Gravity and life pulling it down and away, nothing can be done, it just is.

Telling a potential employer I am leaving the country for 2 weeks around Christmas is not helping my cause. I had a job interview 2 weeks ago and really hoped I might get it but I didn’t, it was retail, working in a bookstore. Christmas is the busiest most intense time of the year and telling them that I couldn’t make it sabotaged my chances. Telling them I was a cannibal wouldn’t have been as bad.

Interviews have been scarce. I’ve had only 3, and I’ve been looking in Seattle for 4 months and here for 2 months. It is discouraging. Yet I have hope the law of averages will be on my side and eventually I’ll find something I can live with, live on.

I have been unemployed before, for a year I looked for a job before I found one. It was different then, Jerry was here then. He told me it was okay, told me not to worry or feel badly. He seemed to like being able to take care of me and Bear. And it was socially acceptable, being a married woman who didn’t work, very traditional. People didn’t automatically think I was a parasite or loser. Jerry even encouraged me when I got frustrated and impatient with the whole job process.

This time is different. It sucks big time. I’m more aware of how alone I am now, except for my sister who is letting me crash on her couch, there’s no backup or support system this time. Although the couch is technically mine the house it is inside is hers ( and partly mine too, thanks to our aunt’s convoluted estate). But I know I have to look after myself and the pets. I can’t look to Jerry to pay rent or give me money for groceries. He isn’t here to tell me it’s going to be okay, that he believes in me.

Which is another reason this sucks. I feel like I’m letting him down too, that I’m not as strong or smart as he thought.

Tomorrow is a 5K I signed up for a month ago. I wasn’t as bummed and still walking and going back to yoga. I felt better. But I haven’t been walking as much and went to my last class last night, I can’t afford yoga anymore. I will do the race, and it will be the last one til I can afford the luxury again.


Shepherd’s Crown ( a book review and warning)

This is more like a public service announcement instead of a book review.

I finished reading Terry Pratchett’s last book, The Shepherd’s Crown and had mixed feelings about it. Pratchett wrote it before he died, he suffered from Alzheimer’s and took his own life earlier this year. He had been an advocate for the right-to-die movement and even wrote editorials arguing to change the laws in Great Britain. Assisted suicide is still illegal even though Pratchett killed himself with the knowledge and consent of his family and friends.

Shepherd’s Crown is the final book in his Tiffany Aching series, which was originally a trilogy. It’s a Young Adult book but might be categorized as Fantasy, Sci-Fi or even fiction depending on the bookstore or library’s whims. I enjoyed this book but I want to keep people from buying it and reading it.

If you see this book and think “I’ll just get this for my friend/family member who is still hurting and in  mourning, who needs a good laugh and distraction from grief” do not do it. I repeat, do not do it. Step away from the book. Put. It. Down. Now. Even if this is a person who loves Pratchett, fantasy, good strong female characters and puns, walk away from this book.

One of the best loved (and feared) characters in Discworld dies. Pratchett kills Granny Weatherwax, a old wise woman. Though she’s officially a witch she’s not the typical Macbeth/Halloween witch though she does wear a pointy hat. She’s not satanic or evil, there’s none of that here and she would be offended by the thought. Granny Weatherwax is a midwife, healer, herbalist and leader. She doesn’t do nice, she does what’s needed. She is a badass. I love her and she reminds me of my Aunt Donnie, who passed away 5 years ago. And that’s why I don’t want anyone in mourning reading this book, especially someone mourning a mother or grandmother. Anyone mourning anyone really, fresh mourning and grief are way too raw to read this book. Even if the person is a Pratchett or Tiffany Aching fan, suggest they re-read some other Pratchett book. If you are the person in question leave this book alone for awhile, trust me on this.

Granny Weatherwax’s death is handled beautifully and with care. Pratchett loved Granny too; he even dedicated Shepherd’s Crown to her. She faces her last day without fear, she knows what’s coming and prepares herself for her visit from Death and his horse Binky. She even makes her own casket and stakes out her resting place. She makes this painful event as efficient for those left to find her body and bury her. She even leaves a note, a will actually, on her chest. I cried reading these pages. They come at the beginning. The death of Granny Weatherwax is felt throughout the entire book, showing how a person’s life can affect people and events long after they have gone.

The simple descriptions of what she does and how Death finally comes was hard for me to read. It was very like what happened when Jerry died. He had a peaceful death, at home, and died sometime in the early hours, like Granny. It was difficult to read because my Second Thoughts were that Pratchett was dying when he wrote her death and how he faced his own mortality by sharing it with the world. Reading Granny’s death was painful and dredged up hurts I thought had gone away. Jerry passed away 15 months ago and I know there’s no way I could have read this any earlier. I hope no one starts this book thinking they can detach their own pain and grief, telling themselves that because Granny isn’t a real person it won’t be so bad. It is. It will. Put. It. Down.

What happens after Granny dies is going to be familiar. It’s like being poked with a stick, over and over, pointing out this detail and that reaction, in case you forgot, From not getting time to really grieve, like Tiffany and Nanny Ogg to dealing with troublesome people like Mrs. Earwig, it will be real.

There are feegles, fairies and jokes,even a passing Python reference, it isn’t grim throughout. Those things make the loss bearable but the loss is still felt and touches everything in some way. This isn’t a sad or depressing book, it is funny and has some great moments, great lines and there’s Pratchett’s cleverness. I will probably re-read it at a later date but only when I’m ready. I don’t know when that will be.

I’m going to listen to the rest of the Wings-Oilers game now.

Sleepless in Seattle revisited

I talked to a friend of mine tonight, she was checking on me and that surprised me in a way. She’s one of the very few who will ask. I’m beyond the one year mark of widowhood, according to society I should be healed up and okay again. Which brings me to something that disturbed me far more than it probably should.

I’ve wanted to move to Seattle but I’m still here, 2000 miles away. I’ve been bored, frustrated and getting depressed over many things. So I decided to watch Sleepless in Seattle as an escape, it’s a light romantic comedy, it unites being a widow/widower and moving to Seattle. I needed to kill some time and feel a little better, at least temporarily. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

What I remember as a sweet little romantic movie is about a stalker who targets a man and then lies to a man who genuinely loves her and breaks some laws and compromises her ethics. Also it shows how easy it is for a person who lost his spouse to heal and start dating because people tell him he should.

I didn’t remember Meg Ryan abusing her job as a newspaper reporter to track down and spy on poor Tom Hanks and his precocious kid. In those early Internet days it was harder to do but she lies about her identity and credentials and gets away with it. She even flies across the country and takes pictures of him without his consent. She has a brief moment of doubt, that she might be a bad person but Rosie O’Donnell as her relentlessly supportive pal tells her nah, she’s not. Crisis resolved and she lies to poor Bill Pullman, whose only crime is he’s a little dull and not Tom Hanks, who believes all the crap she tells him. Meg being a lying morally questionable person I’d say Bill dodged a bullet there when she tells him ON VALENTINE’S DAY she thinks she loves somebody else, she has to go but hey, no hard feelings. Man, I felt so bad for Bill, who has to suck it up and smile while Meg runs off leaving him with the check, having to explain to all those family members and friends, cancel their registration at Tiffany’s and deal with being dumped. If I was Bill I’d make Meg take responsibility for all that stuff and explain herself.

As much as Meg bothered me Nora Ephron’s treatment of Tom Hanks’ grief bothered me a lot more. At first we see him and his son standing alone at his wife’s funeral, awkward post funeral visits and conversations with well-meaning married friends (ironically played by Tom Hanks’s real wife and Victor Garber, who I was almost dementedly gleeful to see now I know he’s gay and that changes how I see their scenes). A co-worker tries to help, giving him a card for a support group and Tom pulls out a stack of other cards he’s received and goes off on the poor guy. He imagines talking to his wife, even sees her and when he describes her to Dr. Nora (I get it, Nora, Dr. Nora, ha) there’s longing in his voice. He’s hurting, mourning and that’s understandable. It’s totally reasonable and realistic.

Then when he’s leaving for Seattle Rita Wilson tells him he’ll start dating again. He snaps that he’ll grow a new heart and she makes a weak apology that nobody believes. But that’s what happens.He’s had a whole two years to mourn and it’s time to snap out of it, to get on with his life. So he asks Rob Reiner about it and the next thing we see is him asking out a woman for a date. That it’s done with “Back in the Saddle Again,” by Gene Autry in the background makes it worse.

None of these well-meaning dolts have lost a spouse, have any experience with this kind of loss and all glibly assume he’s ready because he’s had two years of being depressed and gloomy and they are tired of it. I imagine Nora Ephron felt the same; the time limit on his grief was up and of course he would be ready and willing to “get back out there.”  Seeing a sad man who misses his wife doesn’t say romantic comedy so we fast-forward past all that stuff and get to the fun part, what we came to see. The happy ending. We don’t see Tom going through her things, boxing them up and sending them to charity, we don’t see him looking at pictures of them or of her when he packs to go to Seattle, we don’t see Tom explaining his wife is gone to his son’s teachers, to neighbors and other people who haven’t heard. We don’t see much of his son’s grief either, which really bothered me. He’s a little sad but besides a bad dream he’s okay and eager to replace the mother he lost rather than remember her. I didn’t think about those things when I first saw this movie but I do now. Granted it would be a buzzkill, having to see some of their hurt and tears but editing those parts out left me feeling cheated.

And when Tom starts dating, that made me cringe. It was fairly easy, he asked a woman and she said yes. They began dating and there was no guilt or reluctance on Tom’s part about starting a new relationship. The woman also made me cringe but the reasons why changed. Years before it was because she seemed phony, had an annoying laugh and bad hair. Now it was because I saw her as sad and desperate to please, to find and latch onto a man because she didn’t want to be alone. Her hair was still bad.

Even though I didn’t like Tom’s girlfriend I felt badly for her too. Being stood up because Tom’s son runs away in a attempt to foil his dad’s weekend with her as well as to find his new mother must have sucked for her. But having him show up later with Meg Ryan, I’d love to see Tom explain all this to her. I bet it still would have been less mean and selfish than Meg’s goodbye to Bill. I like to think that maybe somehow Tom’s girlfriend and Bill got together and had their well-deserved happy ending.

The ending which made me sigh now made me want to shake Tom by the shoulders and warn him about Meg. Yeah, you totally trust this strange woman holding your kid’s teddy bear, whom you feel warm happy feelings for but know nothing about. You at least recognize her as the nutcase in the middle of the road who nearly gets run down by a truck. It’s a sign, Tom. Run, take your kid and run back to Seattle. And tell Rob Reiner and everyone who says you need to do things you may not be ready for to shut up and go away.

the long walk

I walked today about 6-7 miles. The longest I’ve walked in awhile and though it isn’t earth-shattering news I am proud of myself. I didn’t set out to do it but once I reached a certain point I knew I’d finish. The only other thing worth mentioning is how I noticed today that piles of dirt look just like piles of cocoa. Or chocolate cake mix.

I am thinking of doing a 5K on Halloween. It’s a costume race and I will wear my Louise bunny ears and a green shirt, maybe a green dress if I find one. I won’t run but walk it and that’s ok.


Focus on your breath

Which is about the only thing I can do. The job search is discouraging, though I had an interview with a temp agency today I am not expecting much. I feel frustrated and a little embarrassed, humbled. I’m living at my sister’s and dipping into the money I set aside for moving. I’ve been trying to walk more, to go to yoga and keep moving in at least one way. But I don’t do as much as I can or should.

Yoga is the one thing that makes me feel alive. I have to drag myself there most of the time but once class begins I forget about what is bothering me, for one hour I don’t feel like a failure or a loser. Even when my balance is wonky or I struggle I am only concerned with what is happening in this room and in this moment. The most important thing I can do is breathe. Focus on your breath, one of my teachers tells us. Breathe slowly and deeply, hold it for a moment then release it, slowly. Do not hurry, do not force your body to do anything that hurts, but if you want to go deeper you can. Everybody’s practice is different.

By the end of the hour I’m sweaty and my body feels lighter, looser, stronger. I’m usually thirsty and a little hungry too, but I feel better, mentally as well as physically. A friend told me it’s the oxygen that gives me clarity. I don’t want to analyze it or explain, in my opinion that defeats the purpose. It just is.

I don’t want to say yoga saves my life but it might save my sanity. I’ve been anxious about being unemployed, I had thought I’d have a job and be in Seattle by now. Now I worry that it won’t happen and I should accept that I’m just stuck here, find a job and suck it up. But finding a job here might not be easy either and I don’t know how long it will take, how long I will be at my sister’s house, how long I’ll have to pay storage fees for my crap. I feel useless, most days I try to find something to do besides watching TV. Daytime TV is a great motivator for finding a job too. I found myself going Mystery Science Theater 3000 on soap operas and judge shows.

I want to go to yoga more often but I can’t afford too many classes and have to pace myself. It’s hard to justify spending the money when I’m not working and need to keep my expenses low. But when I do it is worth the effort and cost.

Yoga has given me a goal, something I might actually be able to do. I want to do Bird of Paradise pose. I attempted it in class tonight and I looked more like Road Kill. With patience, practice and luck I should be able to do it.