Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happiness is....

sometimes not found in our short-term activities, but in the long-term. Does that make sense to you? What I mean is that sometimes the actions you take today are not happy ones, but they are necessary for you to be happy in the long run. Say you are in a bad relationship. Leaving that relationship has to be hard and painful, but you know that the only way to be happy in the long run is to make the hard choice now. Like quitting smoking - it's so hard to do, but you know that the payoff is worth it. For me, recently, it was making the decision to not just gloss over my younger sister's bad behavior once again, but instead to say something to her and not back down. It was difficult. I was sick to my stomach about it and lost sleep, but I felt I had to finally say something or I was just enabling her to continue on her merry way. I hope that there will be a happy result in the future because I decide to take a stand - and will continue to take that stand with her. It can be so hard with anything - job changes, moving, relationships - to slog through the tough stuff - but you have to do it when the ultimate result is long-term happiness.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holiday is Over

Yeah. It was a good holiday, but now things have gone sour. My sister's dog was not well behaved while here. To start with, I never should have agreed to let her leave him here while she stayed in the city with friends. She doesn't discipline her dog much. He's allowed on the furniture in her home - well now it's in my mother's home. We don't allow dogs on the furniture here. Try telling a little cocker spaniel that. He doesn't like that. In fact, if you try to remove him from the furniture, he'll try to bite you. Fun stuff. And he table surfs. Last year, at Thanksgiving at my mom's, he grabbed some really expensive pate that my cousin had brought. My sister didn't really take that behavior seriously. We had to put all the food in the center of the table on Thursday and then shove all the chairs in so that he couldn't get up on the table. He tried though. The topper came on Friday when she left his filled poopie bags on the concrete in front of the garbage bins. Did not put them in, left them in front. What's up with that? Did not call or leave a note to say "hey, didn't know where to put the poopie bags" just left them there. See - that's just a perfect picture of what my sister's life has been like - someone else is always there to pick up her mess.
So, I sent her a sarcastic e-mail asking if she just had bad aim or if she didn't think the garbage was the right place for poopie bags. First I get a "sorry, someone else left one of his poopie bags there, so I thought that was the right place" huh? Then I get an e-mail saying "why did you have to be so nasty about it?....Clearly you and A were annoyed to have him at your house." So - I responded. Well - we're now having a war of e-mails. The bottom line is that my sister is not a responsible dog owner. In fact, she's pretty much not responsible at all. She doesn't think things through. There is a reason, beyond the economy, why she is unemployed and living with her mother at age 39. She doesn't understand the concept of a budget. She doesn't plan period. Oh - and she blames that on the fact that when she was young, our father died and our mother "was dying". Okay - Mom had cancer, but was never told she was going to die, never was I ever told that my mother came close to dying. And - oh by the way - she's been clean for almost 30 years. I think it's time for little sister to get over it. And yes, daddy died when she was young. It happened. You can't undo it. You can only live with it, deal with it, cope with the reality you were dealt. You can't use it as a crutch for the rest of your life.
So - back to the e-mail war. I told my sister that she needed to get her dog to behave better, that it wasn't the responsibility of the hosts in any home she visits to keep her dog off the furniture and to keep him away from the food serving area. Well - how dare I! It is not my place to say anything about how he behaves when he is elsewhere - only in my home. Yup - not my problem - that's her problem and the problem of whoever she is visiting. Oh - and I shouldn't have dumped on her when she doesn't have a job, had to move in with mom, etc. Yup - should let her skate, let her make our frustrations with her dogs behavior not about him being a bad dog, it's all about A & I being mean people. Oh - and A& I are obsessed with Boomer's behavior. Uh - just trying to be responsible dog owners - like we don't want Boomer biting anyone or destroying their furniture.
It's always about someone else with her - never about her. Back to the bit about she just doesn't think - Thanksgiving weekend, she was moving from NYC to my mom's. My older sister agreed to front her the cost of moving. Well, first thing, she never discussed with older sister how exactly she was going to arrange to pay the movers. Not until the day of the move. It's not as though older sister was going to be only 5 minutes away and could just run over with a check. Last year around the same time, younger sister was unemployed and put off looking for cheaper apartments until it was too late for her to move, she had no choice but to renew her expensive mid-town Manhattan apartment. One of the issues that caused her to lose the job before this one was her desire for too much time off. She wanted to go to the Cape practically every weekend. It was her "respite" and she just had to go. New in a job, she took much more than 2 weeks vacation, which was what she was allotted, so some of it was unpaid. What does that say to the boss?
Okay - I should stop ranting. I'm just at a point where I'm really pissed. She is not responsible with her dog - with anything. I pointed out to her that she needed to be more responsible with the dog and she's turned it around to how horrible I am. I don't know where the end will be. Will it be the next time someone tries to get him off their furniture and he's successful with the biting attempt? Will she be responsible then? Will it be when he ruins a dinner party by getting on the table and eating the food? Will she be responsible then? And we're only talking about being responsible for the dog, not her life. Or will it be when she's letting him run around off his leash outside and he gets hit by a car? Will she start being responsible then? When do I stop being the ogre in her eyes? Will she still be in this mode over the summer when A & I go up to the Cape for vacation? When does she open her eyes and realize that it is really about her, no one else and it is up to her to make some changes?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time for a Boomer post

I love my dog. He provides us love and entertainment. It's been fun watching him navigate the snow this weekend. Watching him prance through the new snow was fun. Now that it's been beaten down into paths, he follows them carefully. He's just too cute. We had guests for dinner Saturday night. Boomer was in doggie heaven. He was getting loving from all angles. He was so well behaved too. I was very proud of him. Our guests got a laugh when Boomer put himself to bed around 10:30. He's got such a personality. It will be fun tomorrow when my sister arrives with her dog. It will be madness on Thursday when A's brother and SIL arrive with theirs!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Photos

These are some shots of our tree, some of my favorite ornaments and, of course, a shot of Boomer the Christmas dog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happiness is....

....having your own spot. Do you have a favorite spot where you curl up to read a book or settle in to knit? I'll bet we all have them. Mine is the left side of the love seat in our living room. A's seems to be the couch. Even Boomer has a spot - actually more than one. Downstairs, he has a rug by the back door that is his spot. On the third floor, we have a blanket on the floor that is his spot. I am planning on going back to one of my old favorite spots - my grandfather's chair. Pop Pop had this great old easy chair with a hassock - it's older than me, so it must be an antique now. I kind of scammed possession of it years ago. As kids, we used to fight over who got to sit in it. Now, it's mine. It's up on our third floor, just itching for me to use it again. I think I need to do that. There's a spring in it that makes a noise when you sit just so. That sound is a memory from childhood that when I hear it, just brings warm, fuzzy feelings. Definitely need to get back into using that chair. It's part of my history. Some day, I'll pass it on to one of my cousins' children, so that they too can enjoy it, hear that spring twang and feel happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some days - it's just WHAM

Some days, just when I think I'm doing okay with the whole childless future - WHAM. I don't always understand why it hits when it does. Today was the Christmas party at A's firehouse. I know darn well this is something focused on the kids. But I figured I would be fine. I know most of the wives now and they are all so nice. It's completely unlike his old firehouse. I just wasn't prepared though. While at the party, I found out that one of the other wives was expecting twins. I'm happy for them. They had previously suffered a loss and they are such a nice couple - this is great for them. I think it just hit me that I'll never have a place in that world. I have a good life. I'm doing okay with working on being happy and finding the good in our childless future, but there will always be a sadness in my heart. Some days it pops up when I'm not prepared for it and today was one of those days.

It didn't help today that I felt kind of annoyed about Christmas arrangements. We - that is A and I - were invited to go to my cousin's house for Christmas. That's where we are going. The last two years, I did Christmas dinner at our house. And that's I - not we - as A has had to work the last two Christmases. Today, his mother called to discuss how we are going to spend time with his family for Christmas. They are all coming here on Christmas day. I'm feeling resentful. How has it become our responsibility all the time? Well - because my BIL and his wife don't help. She has to go to her family every year in New Jersey, so we are a convenient stopover for them on their way home. I'm also kind of stuck with my family. They understandably want to come home to CT each year to spend the holiday with aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins. Only problem is that I'm the only one who has a house in the area. So, if we wanted to go to A's parents home in Eastern CT or his brother's home in Maine, I'm kind of stuck because of my family. So I'm being pissy today because I feel like it's not fair.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Photos

Once again, Boomer is the star of our Christmas cards. The first picture was the winner, the rest are just for fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happiness is...

...a good butt scratch. Okay - it's not really a butt scratch, but it's close. The dog positively loves to have the area right above and to the sides of his tail scratched. He dances when you do it. It's the cutest damn thing. Clearly, he's found happiness in those moments - nirvana even. He also loves a good belly rub and chin scratch and the old behind his ears scratch - but he doesn't dance for those. Just the butt scratch.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Folding Laundry - a Revelation

Yeah - a revelation. Seriously. I was folding laundry yesterday with A. While we were doing it, I realized that he folds up socks differently from the way I do it. I've long known that he folds shirts differently. It made me think that marriage is not just combining of lives, it's combining of the way you do things. It's an area where you can change, grow, teach or be stubborn. We all grow up learning to do things from our parents. A learned one way to fold a shirt, I learned another. He puts the toilet paper on a different way - I'm an underroll person, he's an overroll. We make beds differently, fold things differently, cook differently - all sorts of things. Some areas we've kind of melded. More often than not, I'll fold shirts his way. But I still do the toilet paper my way. It's just kind of interesting to me - all the little things that we learn and how they are part of the constant compromise of marriage.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Photos

Just a few pictures - Boomer trying out his new coat and his Santa hat. The table loaded with china and crystal for Thanksgiving dinner. And Boomer guarding the table!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happiness is....

...hanging with a friend. This is Boomer with my brother-in-law on Thanksgiving Day. They had a good time playing together, then they just chilled out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What's in a name?

Kate isn't my formal name - that's Kathleen. I like my formal name for being formal - it's kind of elegant. I like names that have nicknames. Mine has several nicknames, but I've always been Kate or Katie. I wonder - will I ever be too old to be called Katie? Is there a point where the nickname with the cute little "ee" sound at the end should be dropped? Like my cousin Jimmy (I have a lot of those) who is in his 60s. Is it time to start calling him Jim? My husband's name has no nicknames. His parents will sometimes shorten it to the first syllable - but I don't like that. It's like calling Mary "Mare" or Dylan "Dill". That's not to say that there's anything wrong with names with no easy nicknames - some of them are so beautiful and elegant - like Julia or Aimee.

When you have a name like mine, that can have several nicknames, things can get tricky. People tend to assume I'm a Kathy. I don't care for that name. I don't need a reason beyond the fact that - well - it's not my name. But then there's the memory of the Chatty Cathy doll. And there's my brother's old girlfriend Cathy. Yeah - don't call me Kathy. You would be amazed though at the people who see Kathleen and just assume they should call me Kathy. It's presumptuous - maybe I don't use a nickname at all and if I do use one, do you know me well enough to be using it? My personal opinion, if you don't know a person's nickname, don't attempt to use one. Better to be safe than sorry. Give me the opportunity to say "Please, call me Kate."

Names are important, because they are ours. They are personal. They are one of the most personal things about us. We don't (usually) choose them for ourselves, but they are ours like nothing else. Names are the first things we owned.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holiday Weekend Recap

Well - I really fell down on the job with NaBloPoMo at the end. My holiday weekend was kind of hectic, so it was pretty much unavoidable. But - I'm doing a recap post with pics to follow later. Warning - somewhere in the Saturday recap will be a discussion of food poisoning.

Thursday - the day went really well. The dog loved having everybody at the house. My mom & sister helped me finish getting things ready in the morning. A & I were up early to start the cooking. He made us pancakes for breakfast. Dinner was delicious. The company was lovely. I did have to tell my brother-in-law to take off his hat at the dinner table. Everybody helped with the dinner/clean-up in some way - well except that same brother-in-law - which was nice. My father-in-law was quite the leftover dish man. I just kept feeding him plastic containers and he got it all done. Then we sat back, watched football -did the football suck that day or what - and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Friday - dropped the dog off early. While I was doing that, my mom & sister emptied the dishwasher and put away the china & silver - how awesome are they! When I got back, we loaded them up with leftovers and packed up the car and they headed back to Mass. (On Sunday when the dog came home, he went looking for them - so cute.) We got packed up to go to the wedding. Unfortunately, our friends that were riding with us are not so prompt, so we were later getting to the hotel than we wanted, which translated to being late to the wedding. I know I'm always late for work - but when I have to be somewhere on time - I get there on time. I just can't understand their casual attitude towards being on time. Even after A told them that we would be ready to leave for the church in 10 minutes - they took 20. Whatever. The wedding was lovely. The reception was great too. But - about an hour into the reception, they guys from the groom's firehouse (A's old firehouse) started getting calls. Their firehouse was on fire. I thought it had to be a joke at first. It wasn't. I felt so bad for them. They made a pact not to tell the groom and to get his brother to separate him from his cell phone. He did find out by the end of the reception somehow. One weird thing at the reception - there were no slow songs to dance to. We had a blast and danced most of the night - as my sore feet will witness - but I do like to dance to slow songs with A. Oh well. The food was good - or was it? See Saturday!

Saturday - we hit the road relatively early, which we needed to do because we had to go home, repack and head back out to A's high school reunion. We had a quick snack-breakfast at the hotel, then went to a diner for eggs. We made good time getting home, dropped the friends off. We repacked and headed out to Eastern CT for the reunion. It was a little weird for me, being the spouse and not knowing anyone, but A's high school friends were very nice. We got quite a lot of "do you have kids" questions. I don't know why it never occurred to me that we would hear that a lot, but I must be getting better because it didn't set me off crying or anything. The food was good - or was it? After dinner, I started feeling uncomfortable. You know that feeling when your control top pantyhose feels like it's strangling you and all you want to do is get it off? That was it. I did not feel right. So, I told A and went up to the room. After removing the offending garment, I was so bloated, I looked about 6 months pregnant. I had time to get into my pjs before it started. I must have had food poisoning. Basically, for the rest of the night, I was puking at least once an hour. In fact at one point, it seemed like it was every hour on the hour, so I started checking the clock and I was right. Somewhere along the line, the food poisoning made itself known on the other end as well. I was miserable.

Sunday - I stopped puking around 5:30 am, but wasn't done with other aspects of the food poisoning. I cried. I just wanted to go home - but didn't know how far we would make it in the car without needing to stop. Thankfully, I got a little imodium and some gatorade in me and made it home. I spent the rest of the day in bed watching the Giants beat the Redskins. Then I switched to a show about fancy cakes - very cool stuff. The Jets weren't nearly as interesting as a Faberge Egg cake and a cake that looked like a stack of French toast. So - no more puking, no more other stuff, just tired as all get out.