Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Martyr Speaks. Again.


Can I just tell you that I would hate to be married to me today? Seriously, I'm a pill. And MathMan just hangs in there and hangs in there. He is the Timex watch of husbands.

I am miserable and for no damn good reason except things just aren't as hunky dory as I think they should be. Nope. I'm stewing and fretting and getting all afroth about life and when I'm like this, the best thing would be to just leave me the hell alone. But MathMan doesn't do that because he's afraid I'll carry a hose out to the garage, attach it to the tailpipe of the car and sit with the door shut revving that poor Corolla's engine one last time before becoming part of the great Gothic tale of life gone wrong in Euharlee, Georgia.

Silly guy, that's too much work. Experience demonstrates that I'd mess it up somehow. I'd have the wrong size hose or try to do the deed too soon after driving the car and burn my fingers on the still-hot tailpipe. Or I'd waste a bunch of time looking up exactly how to do it on the internet, then realize I have to pee, then find that funny Edward Gorey book next to the toilet and lose my taste for quick death, then hear the dryer buzzer and go down to fold laundry, get distracted by something on the television, sit on the sofa and fall asleep and then forget what I was up to until MathMan wakes me with a funny look on his face while he holds my neatly penned suicide note out in front of him like a talisman.

I'd surely break a fingernail or the car battery would turn out to be dead and I have to call J's daddy for a jump start. Imagine that conversation. "Mr. M, can you come over and jump my car again? The battery is dead and I need to hurry up and make it run so I can kill myself before my husband gets home....."

It's a given that something would foul things up and just like that time I went all drama queen and sped away in my car, stopping at a Jiffy Treat to drown my sorrows in an extra-thick chocolate milkshake, and then discovered that I was stuck because the stupid, ugly Ford Fairmont wouldn't start and the only person I could think of to call was the same person I was so angry at, but I called MathMan anyway to come rescue me and then, and only then did that damn car start......well, you get the picture. When I go for the drama mask, I usually end up with that somewhat sinister looking laughing mask instead. Were I try to kill myself via the running car in the closed garage trick, it would end with me calling MathMan on his cell so I could swear at him in blame because something went horribly wrong on the way to my suicide.

Besides, I don't want to hurt anyone else and suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning could cause trouble for those still living in the upstairs of the house. MathMan should know me better. I'm a no muss, no fuss kind of chick. Pills. In the bathtub with my clothes on because I'm not too keen on my own nudidity at the moment. And the tub wouldn't be filled with water or anything, but at least if I hurl or something, the mess will be much easier to clean. I suppose I could just stand in the shower, too, but what if I bump my head as I take my final slither down, leaving a nasty bruise on my noggin? Now wouldn't that be a pain in the ass for some funeral home makeup artist to have to cover up while adhering to the strict instructions I'd leave in a nicely typed in triplicate note to ensure that if there is some goony open casket thing, my make up better look as natural as it does when I apply it. (see enclosed picture)

Not that I've given it any thought. Funny thing is, as long as I can talk about it and laugh about it, it's not going to happen. It's when I'm quiet that I'm a danger to myself and others.

So what the hell is up my ass, I keep wondering. MathMan is certain that my depression is chemical. Just this morning, he correctly pointed out that if I had a headache, I'd take an Advil. True enough. But this stupid depression just hangs on and on and no matter how much talking I could do with a therapist, the fundamental issues that plague me don't go away. That's just the reality. I will still have to help support this family and be a mother and a wife and do all the grown up stuff that wears you down to a nub.

So pardon me if I'd like to step off once in a while. Take a break. Go a'travelin' for a spell. Who doesn't want that from time to time?

Recently I read a novel that just fueled my feeling of ennui mixed with the acid of worry and regret. In her story The Ten Year Nap, Meg Wolizter writes about some stereotypical Manhattanites who have chosen not to work so they can stay home with their children. Please note that I'm so over the whole work-mommy versus stay-at-home-mommy thing I could scream, but what really made me fidget while reading this book was the idea that I was reading about the angst of women who actually possessed the freedom to stay home with their children. Listen, I realize that I'm not artsy-craftsy lovey-dovey mama material, but when no one is looking, I cover my kids up in gooey mom-love. Were someone to have offered me the chance to stay home with them when they were little, I would have been all "Hell yeah, I'm staying home with them" and I would have never looked back with regret. I suppose that might be the difference between having a "promising career" as described in the novel and my job which is white collar enough (pink collar ghetto more like it), but not something for which my passion burns. It pays the bills, end of story.

Tough as it was to swallow, I slogged my way through the book. MathMan asked me a few times why I didn't just toss it aside? "Why are you still dating that book?" he asked, giving me the stink eye, "You dumped boyfriends with greater alacrity than you've been able to decide whether to stick with this book or not."

If I acknowledged him at all, it was mostly with a rude gesture and then I'd make some meager statement about time invested, blah, blah, blah. The fact is, I promised myself I'd finish reading the book because I wanted to see how it ended and when I sneaked to see if I could just wrap it up in the last couple of pages, was thwarted by the way Wolitzer dragged out the conclusion. I swear, it was like removing a jagged splinter from a wailing child's foot. At some point, I just hung on to the book and yanked the words from it. I finished it sitting in the library, forcing myself so that I could return it on time and having met my goal. So I sat and chewed the inside of my cheek and flicked the edges of the book's pages and read and stewed some more until I could walk across the library and drop the finished, if not enjoyed, book into the return slot with a satisfying plunk.

Have I mentioned I'm all about goals now? I hope not because I don't want you to hold me to that. Yet.

Anyway, completing the book gave me no satisfaction because what it really did was add to my desire to navel gaze and wonder and wish and regret about all the stupid choices I've made over my lifetime. Regret is particularly poisonous when I'm in this mood.

Then, Friday night, we had a hypnotist at the dinner event that I was responsible for planning. He was very good. I had my reservations about booking him, but I was impressed by his message and I'm convinced that some of the subjects he chose from the audience were, in fact, hypnotized. Not to mention the fact that it's pretty dang funny to see your boss "go under" and then claim later that he "never actually was hypnotized." Yeah, right. And, natch, he wants me to destroy the video that I took. Ha, I say. Ha ha ha. And no way.

The hypnotist talked about how successful people visualize what they want and remain focused as they pursue their dream. I sat, sipping my wine and savoring the Chateaubriand (I know, life isn't that rough, I know) and thought about that. I considered a conversation I'd had with our guest speaker, another motivational guy, the evening before. He asked me why I hadn't done something to make this blog a money-making venture or done more in an entrepreneurial effort to free myself from the shackles of workaday blues. (He must have been able to read the boredom and weariness on my face.)

"Why hold yourself back? You have to make your own way, no one is going to rescue you from an unhappy life......" he stated pointedly. I could have smacked him for being so spot on.

I looked around the large room at the members of the association I work for. They are all there because someone in their family decided at some point that they were going to run their own business rather than sit around and hope that some employer was going to reward them for hard work and brains. We all know that hard work and brains aren't rewarded as much as we're told they are, right?

And so here I am, alternating between droning silence and bursts of venom as I drive along I75 this morning, MathMan riding shotgun. He shifted in his seat. The whole car moved under him, his motions were that deliberate and meant, I believe, to get my attention.

"What are we going to do about the depression?" he finally asked using his firm, I've had it, Lisa, voice.

I smirked and held back from asking him which depression did he mean? Big D Depression or the little, more insidious one? I mean, I know I'm amazing and all, but I do believe that solving the big D Depression is President Obama's job and too many cooks, etc.....

See? I don't want to be serious. I don't want to go and sit and talk and tell some non-judgmental therapist about all the muck inside my head because then I might cry and blow snot bubbles and still walk out feeling utterly ridiculous for being bunged up because I have to work too many jobs and I'm tired and I want a vacation, a looooooooong vacation, and mostly I want my past back so I can fix things.

I brought the budding conversation to a screeching halt by biting MathMan's head off when he said that I needed to "find the time" to write my damn book. The book has now graduated to being "that damn book." I think of it in much the same way. So instead of talking about how I'm about to embark on a new thing that might eventually free me from having a long commute and a job that thrills me not at all, I chose to zero on what really irritated me about that statement - the idea that the reason why I don't have time is because I don't make time. Or rather - I don't have time because I waste time.

I believe that among the huffs and forced hoots, and the "oh no you didn't just go there" hair toss/eye roll, I spat out a few stinging words including magic wand and doing the impossible. So long constructive conversation between adults, hello growly silence, punctuated by heavy sighs and angry staring out the window.

But MathMan is right. I have to make the time. Right this second, we cannot afford for me to chuck my association management "career," but I can tell you this - I am going to make this new venture work so that I can be free to write and make my own way. I am sick to death of having over half of my waking hours dictated to me so that when I get home, I am so tired and distracted by all the unfinished projects that I don't feel like focusing on what matters.

34 comments:

  1. There must be an anxiety virus going around. I know I caught it. The primary symptoms seem to be inability to sleep, inflicting your irritability on patiently suffering loved ones, and contemplating vehicular suicide while sitting in traffic in a car with no air conditioning in 95 degree weather.

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  2. Chill pill time. Stop eating candy cigarettes and M&Ms .. buy a new car battery, use books only as doorstops and get on with stuff requiring both hands, feet and back. See, easy.

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  3. Took the words right out of my mouth....I love you right about now!

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  4. I know this. Went on the Vitamin Z for a year. Worth it. But, lowered sex drive. My intention was a year. No more free mental health care, at least momentarily, it's been a year, and I'm weaning, oh so slowly. Been hornier than in a long time, but those ruminations (as they are called) came back when I accidentally skipped a day at lowered dose. Took me a bit to recover, but was valuable to see the difference between, and looking for ways to maintain a newish-found serenity without the meds. Kinda doing it.

    I love you. Call me if ever you care to. We're due for some phone sex or the creation of a newly-absurd take on the ridiculous nature of societal expectations in the form of an advice column.

    Breathe, sleep, exercise, sexify yourself, read, distract, and for god sakes lady, cry. Nothing finer to release stress. Fighting it is a whole lot of work. Who cares about snot? Think of it as blog fodder.

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  5. OK Lisa you know me from my quirky snarky R-rated blog but in my other life I'm a life coach so with that hat on, while I'm not the hugest proponent of meds, in some cases they are essential in letting you reset your emotional state.

    I soooo understand what you're going through because I was there 5 years ago.

    I hope your new venture works out and allows you some flexibility and breathing room. As someone who has been working on "my damn book" for 5 years, I recently just hit the send button to an agent.

    If you ever want to talk, I'll tell you how I finally got focused. You are such a talented writer, it would be sad to deprive the world of your gifts.

    Big hugs.

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  6. You have such a way with words. my dear. When you publish your book, I will read it. I might even buy it, and that's saying a lot for frugal me. But seriously, on the drug thing -- I've been on Welbutrin for 5 years now. Periodically (usually when the prescription runs out and I'm too lazy to go and get it refilled) I decide that I could try it w/o drugs: I hate supporting evil pharmaceutical companies and hey, couldn't I research St. John's Wort on the google and take that instead ... etc. etc. Then when I'm feeling really crappy after about 2-3 weeks, just going to the pharmacy and getting the drugs makes me feel better than I have in ages -- that's before I've even popped one! Anti-depressants, I've taken me a few, and Ed's taken the ones I haven't. The side effects that I've experienced with most of them SUCK -- so you might have to hang in there 'til you find one that works. You can email me for more personal info if you want the whole sordid tale.

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  7. I am no psychologist...but you, MathMan and family have been on a financial and emotional roler coaster for quite some time now. Damn economy. A true vacation would/should jump start the vibrancy just hiding away for now. Although that may not be an option at the moment - just verbalizing sometimes help also. I am thinking about you - and hope everything works out OK for all.

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  8. I love you. And your remarks about MathMan remind me of what my sister says about HER marriage (the one I point to for my daughters: "There's a REAL good one. Go, thou, and do likewise").

    What you say about screwing up your past reminds me of what I told the girls yesterday: "If it wasn't for y'all, I'd wish I'd never met your father, but there y'all are." So we're here now. Let's move the heck on.

    What you say about your book reminds me of the friends who continually nag me about my book and my dissertation, and, frankly, right now, I'd rather kill them than myself.

    But here's the thing: you're a great writer, girl. I'd buy anything you published. ('mLookin covetously at those earrings right now, as a matter of fact.) Go do your thing, girl. It's CLEARLY God-placed inside of you. You're a Bad Woman. And the world'd be a much suckier place without you in it. Believe that. I do.

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  9. I've been on anti-depressants off and all my adult life. Usually, I can take them for awhile, just to "reset" and then wean off when I get a handle on it. Otherwise, there's no real high or anything. It's not like it makes you giddy. I don't know whether that's a plus or a minus for you, though. :)

    I can tell you this: when on them, I have more energy to do the things I need to do, which in turn means I feel better about myself, which in turn gives me more encouragement to get even more done. It begins a positive cycle, rather than the usual vicious one.

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  10. Venting in order to organize. Sounds familiar. The depression. The time wasted over regrets and the desire to "go back and fix stuff." Hot shit, woman, if we could do that, we'd not have made it this far.

    This sounds like a southern, female version of me. I so identify with this I can hardly believe it.

    Everything from the suicidal thoughts vocalized because keeping them inside makes them too real. The regret turning to anger turning to making others feel as miserable as we do (why suffer alone, especially in marriage?) and the promises that this time - this time, goddammit - it will be different.

    Like everyone else - I love you, hon. Like everyone else, you know you can turn to me, shoot even vent to me, whenever you feel the need. My head is replaceable, MathMan's less so, just remember that.

    Again, I say - this post is a verbatim transcript from so many journal entries I've made over the years, I could read it blindfolded. I offer no advice, just kinship in the sucking depths of feeling like crap.

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  11. You are an outstanding writer -- I can't wait to read that damn book!

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  12. Damn you write well Lisa....I love the raw...

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  13. Mathman finally speaks and comments about this post. There is nothing that I can say that you don't already know, that is what I would have said to you in the past. But asumptions have gotten us in trouble in that past. No more.

    And you are right my squriming was a message that you picked up correctly. So what if you took my head-off. So what - nothing. A conversation and vent. Which is OK. I hate to see you in pain and I know that we are oft reminded of past mistakes. I see your efforts to move forward and I am with you and I stand for you. Love you.

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  14. You must be my soul sister, Lisa. You described what I go through and that's with anti-depressants. It's time for mine to be tweaked again. The important thing is that you're still writing and able to think and talk about it. Once you find that you've lost your sense of humor, get thee to a doctor at once.

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  15. Therapy can be very helpful, but if you do have chemical issues causing, or at least exacerbating, your depression, I can't recommend anti-depressants highly enough. They won't make your financial or other real-world problems go away, but they can help you deal with those problems with a clearer head and without the extra emotional psychological weight that depression brings.

    Just my two cents. xoxo.

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  16. You've got babies getting ready to hit the road ... and you may not realize it, but you've got a whole new life waiting for you around the bend.

    Yeah, you "coulda, woulda, shoulda,and shouldn't hava", but when they leave and you get to see them walk into and embrace their own lives and paths, you're going to see that somehow...they got the best parts of you and it's all ok. And as each one does this, you'll breath again, and relax and there'll be more room within you to be filled with life...for you.

    You are a lot of things, but it is quite obvious you are a MOM - and a very good one, and I think when our kids reach this age it's the hardest time of all, because we do all the things you are doing now. Measure ourselves up against those dreams, hopes and expectations we had for ourselves and do have for them - wishing so bad we could do it all over again.

    You'll see. You'll watch your beautiful oldest daughter move into her own (takes a couple few years) but with each step, you'll breath, know they're going to be better than ok, and you'll put all that baggage down. And that's good stuff.

    It is not easy in this world today to be a MOM - but this part of it does not last forever, and you'll survive it.

    (so when you blog your life out there, do you just dread all the advice and encouragement you know is bound to follow? Guess it comes with territory.)

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  17. don't what to say except sort of know how you feel.
    I think everything catches up with you after a while. and you have had several big stress factors lately.

    I''l buy your book when you write it

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  18. That was good (and, I hope, cathartic for you).

    Distillation is more complicated than fermentation.

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  19. I am amazed to see that you and I are in such similar states this summer. I got to the same conclusions re: tailpipe and going back to fix stuff. So irritating that, like everything else it seems like I have to fix it myself. Sigh. I am tired of fixing and I don't have something waiting for me to finish.

    I do envy your relationship with your Mathman. My husband pays no attention.

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  20. He is the Timex watch of husbands.

    When he gets sick, do you have to send him to Switzerland?

    I'm too stupid to offer any hints by Heloise, so randomly choose stuff from the previous commenters.

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  21. Your post could have been dictated directly by my soul. I relate to so much of what you're going through.

    I did the anti-depressant thing a couple of times, most recently after Beckett was born. It got me through a rough patch and I'm glad, but I'm glad to be off them, too. I don't remember a lot from that year. It was kind of a painful blur. I still hurt a lot, but I was able to function as opposed to curling into a sobbing ball on my kitchen floor.

    It's funny that you mention visualization. I am a firm believer in it, but I can't put it into practice for some reason. Scott does it all the time, though and it works for him.

    But, I'm working on it.

    Have you read any of Wayne Dyer's books like The Power of Intention?

    You might enjoy it. I think you're open-minded enough to.

    Anyway, hang in there and keep venting.

    You're an amazingly gifted writer with such a sharp wit. Your book will sell millions of copies!

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  22. Considering what the past year has been like, it would take some sort of bizarre miracle for you NOT to be depressed.

    My experience with anti-depressants was that they definitely helped me over a rough patch each time I was on them, but they also had the unfortunate side effect of making me (a) feel 10 feet high and bullet-proof and (b) so happy and pleased with myself that I lost all ambition. Deadlines? Writing assignments? Work? I flatout didn't give a shit about any of it, but I felt really, really good.

    I also lost all interest in sex, so (as one can easily imagine) the S.O. was a lot less happy with the chemical solution than I was.

    Bottom line: the chemical solution can be a great crutch to help you over a rough spot, but have Mathman monitor you to make sure you don't end up so blissed out you still don't get the book written.

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  23. Suzi gets it. She's a woman. Bill wants to fix it. He's a man. Bill, that approach just pisses women off. You're not quite listening. Way too rational. This is a feeling thing. It's bone deep.

    Here's what I think. I think you're writing the book right now. THIS IS THE BOOK! Yes, it's that good.

    As for our depression? There are some very good drugs for that. Some of them old and safe and generic? Ask me about any of them and I'll give you a testimonial.

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  24. i like the word "afroth" :)

    times like this wish i was smartier or wordier but what I can always say is you and Mathman are always in my thoughts.

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  25. (Meditation been tried?) - I so much resonate with much of this - the identical interchange with spouse, etc. Mine was the Endless Dissertation. Getting some private time and space was the key to getting that moving along. See if you can rent / barter for / find some little space of your own and go there. Shut the door.

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  26. I know what you are talking about or at least I think I know what you are talking about and goddammit it SUCKS. Everyone has moments of regret. I know I have quite a few myself. Why did I do this or why didn't I do that? I look at other people who seem to have perfect lives and think why can't I be more like them? But guess what--they too have their moments of regret--I just don't know WTF they are. Anyway, we all do the best we can. I think blogging about how you feel and getting feedback from the blogging community can be helpful. I think getting fed up with a constant workload is normal. You have three jobs--one as a mother, one as a wife and one as a employee. No make that four--that fucking housewife role too although I hate that one the most and anymore it comes dead last on my list. Your kids won't always be at home and then you will have more time to devote to yourself and your goals you know. And I think you are a great and strong person Lisa. Hang in there!

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  27. Wow, lots to comment in this post.

    But I'll stick to what I think is the most important piece of information I can send your way: which is you DO need to make this blog make you money. You have a voice (albeit it tends to wander) plus readership, which is my biggest drag. "If I had half the readership Lisa has..." is often moaned through out my apartment, which Ang then rolls her eyes and tells me I need to surf more.

    Right.

    Anyway, you need to buckle down, and you know you do, so fucking do it already. Stop selling yourself short or looking for the easy way out, ie, garden hose, mouthful of pills/chocolate, etc.

    Rome wasn't built because it was easy, you know... it was built because Ceaser needed a place to live and bed chicks. It's true, look it up on Wiki.

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  28. Oh! And Edward Gorey was from Cape! Just FYI...

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  29. I'm probably alone in this, but I think your novel should be titled "My Damn Novel".

    I'd totally buy it.

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  30. Oh Gawd ... I've only gotten as far as your old Ford Fairmont and I'm laughing so hard I can't read through the tears ... Oh, I get this flavour of comedy ... the blackest of black humour ...

    ... After reading about your experience with depression ... Like so many other folks who have responded to your words here, I feel like you could have been writing from my psyche. As Utah says, "THIS IS THE BOOK!" Your writing's as real as it gets, Lisa ... Your voice is immediate, intimate, visceral, screamingly funny in a universal way, saturated with authentic feeling; wise-assed, wisecracking, and most of all, *wise* ... Look at how many comments say "You could have been writing about me" ... That's a sure sign that your writing *reaches* people ... WRITE YOURSELF THROUGH THIS and you will have a treasure to share ... and imagine holding the book that you've written for the first time ... !! (This is also one of my primary dreams, and like you, I haven't given it the time and attention it needs ... Maybe a bunch of us could be "writing buddies" for one another or some such ... ?)

    Medication: saved my sanity; I've taken it for nearly 13 years now -- started at the age of 37. I've weighed the evidence, anecdotes, pros & cons ... and for one particular glitch in my brain that's been around as long as I have, chemical tweaking is the *only* thing that works. For everything else, nearly 30 years of (ever so slowly) gaining attention, awareness, and (ever so little, but more now than ever) compassion for myself have kept me away from the tailpipe and the hose ...

    We're all in this together ... Lisa, I'm another kindred spirit who is open to being in conversation with you about what lies beneath the surface of self ...

    Bless xoxo

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  31. I can tell you one thing--if you do write a book, I will be first in line to purchase it. :)

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  32. Hey Lisa~ You are going through it. I'll tell you I did not dare embark on Facebook & Twitter because blogging sucks up so much time. Lots of favorites, and just one more to swing by & see what so & so has to say, etc.
    It is a network of friends, but my husband starts doing the firebreathing dragon routine as I linger on too long farting around on the internets.

    So I am encouraging you to grab the reigns & maybe start taking baby steps to free up time.
    No not the you just need to manage your time better lecture..... working in corporate america sucks the lifeblood out of you.
    Raising kinds is exhausting & there is always something that needs to be tended to. Just the basics of keeping it together really do take up so much time & energy.

    If we were meant to be superwoman, we would have capes & superpowers & could fly right?

    Well we don't so there.

    It soulds like in later posts you are just making some tweaks to adjust..... and I do too.
    When I finish this post I am going to take my ass out ofr a bike ride, now that it has cooled off.

    Yea!

    Steppping away from the computer..... & taking my own damned advice.

    good thoughts your way.

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  33. For pete's sake, at least put Google Adwords on this blog. I'm curious to see what ads show up considering the things you write about. Should be great fun to read! The hubby has put the ads on our blogs and websites. They're really paying off.

    I'd strongly suggest doing anything it takes to follow your passion, if only for a few hours a week. Your first born is flying the nest soon, and the others are plenty old enough to take care of the housework, especially their laundry and dishes. If they don't have any clean clothes or a clean dish, that's their problem. That won't happen more than once or twice if you don't swoop in and fix it for them. Walk around the house with blinders on if necessary to just let them be.

    I've gone through too many years just existing, but now I have no time for the blues(or worse). I'm working to save some circus elephants who are suffering from neglect and abuse. This project has given me the emotional energy that I lacked before. Doing something meaningful to you is the best mood brightener I've found.

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  34. I have nothing to add to this - just that I admire you. Also, what rennratt and jaliya said.

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