Tag Archives: vacation

Solo Vacation

15 Jul

I don’t have a lot of time tonight because I have a long day tomorrow.  However, I wanted to briefly (very briefly) post about my vacation last week.

I just want to say… taking a vacation on my own was wonderful. It was so great to just do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.  I have always had someone else to cater to, someone else’s idea of a “good time” to consider, and/or some worry that what I wanted to do or eat or whatever wasn’t going to make the other person happy.  Only focusing on making myself happy was almost life-changing it was so peaceful and relaxing and empowering.

Some of what I did for me, in no particular order: Visited Harry Potter World, twice.  🙂  Took a trolley around America’s oldest city.  Read by the pool.  Walked almost everywhere I could.  Hit the outlet mall and went shopping.  Watched a movie, The Heat, and laughed my ass off.  Rode amazing coasters using the single riders line, which was awesome and even landed me in the front row once.  Strolled around EPCOT and visited all of the countries and their shops, taverns, and shows.  Listened to an Irish duo play music that put a huge smile on my face… for hours.  Tried new beer.  Went on a winery tour.  Ate fantastic food.  Sang along at an outstanding concert for a country star who I admire, against a beautiful backdrop.  Watched fireworks.  Bought candy.  Grinned and giggled like a little kid.

And so much more.  I didn’t have a single argument, didn’t worry once what someone else thought of my plans, and felt deep contentment.  I checked in with friends and family, but enjoyed my own company and my personal time more than I can express.

I have only had one other vacation as peaceful and restful – and that was the cruise with my Mom, my step dad (the one where they got engaged, actually), and his family.  That was another trip I took where I just owned what made me happy, even if it was reading 5 books in one week.  I guess there’s really something to this taking care of yourself thing.  😉


Monday Stealing

20 Aug

There’s a lot going on in my head today while, simultaneously, there is nothing going on at all.  Confusing?  Yeah, it is for me, too.  I don’t really have any one particular thing I’m thinking about (not enough to make a coherent blog post, anyway), but I have too much going on to really focus.  Sooo….  I’ve decided to do a fun survey from Sunday Stealing – on a Monday, as was my previous tradition.

Before I start with that, I have a quick update on Buddy (my cocker spaniel).  He definitely has glaucoma.  We visited the ophthalmologist today, who said that his intraocular pressure (IOP) is still elevated.  Normal is about 10.  His was 70 on Thursday and 45 today.  He gave me two more drops to add to his regimen of medicine, and we have another appointment in a week to check everything out again.  Right now he has limited to no vision in his left eye and his optic nerve is damaged, although the doctor said it “isn’t the worst [he’s] ever seen.”  Most likely Buddy will have to get a shot in his left eye to stop fluid production, which will also cause him to lose all sight in his left eye.  Right now our focus is mostly going to be on saving the right eye, unless the next week produces some sort of a miracle.

Now for the silly stuff…

1.  How long have you been blogging?
I actually had to go to my blog and scroll down to the archives to answer this.  I have been blogging since April of this year, more specifically the 9th.  Although it has only been 4 months, sometimes it seems like this is something I should have been doing my entire life.  Blogging really clears my mind and helps me to understand my own thoughts.

2.  Did you go to college?
Yep.  I didn’t do the traditional college-right-after-High-School thing, though.  Lots of people thought I should, and I had grades and SAT scores that had lots and lots of colleges trying to recruit me.  Instead, I decided to travel (more on that below).  I made that decision partially for a really, REALLY dumb reason (teenage “love), but I’m actually glad now that I delayed things.  It allowed me to buy a house, get a fairly good job, and start establishing myself as an independent person.

When I was ready to go to college about 4 or 5 years after high school graduation I still got a full scholarship.  That was thanks in part to my grades and testing but mostly due to my writing and world experience (the scholarship was based largely on the answer to an entrance question about why you want to go to college).  My essay focused on being my own person, figuring out what I want for myself, and going against the grain.  It also talked about my travels and why I felt it was a good time to focus on academics.  Their gamble on me paid off, and I graduated Summa Cum Laude 3 1/2 years later with degrees in Criminal Justice and History.  Too bad I’m not actually using those degrees on a daily basis…  except for the critical thought aspect, which I find to be the most important part.

3.  Where have you traveled?
I traveled a bit with my family growing up because we always took at least one big family vacation.  The one that took me through the most states was a trip from Virginia to Oklahoma and back again, all driven in a large wood-paneled van with no air conditioning.  In August.  With my Mom, Dad, brother and sister.  The whole thing must have taken around 3 weeks.  We traveled through different states on the way there and back, stopping along the way at places like the Kentucky Horse Park where I marveled at Man o’ War‘s statue (on the way there), and the Gateway Archin St. Louis (on the way back).  We also took a car trip up to Maine, where I stayed for the summer with friends of the family.

In High School I got to travel quite a bit with my chorus group.  We went to Branson, MO and Disney (in Florida), but our biggest trip was to London.  That was amazing, and sparked my interest in Europe and history.  After high school I used money I had saved while working during High School to fund a trip all around Europe.  I traveled to 13 countries – England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Monaco, and France.  That was the trip of a lifetime, and I saw and learned more things than I could ever describe.  Unfortunately, I had a film camera back then, so I will have to get some of my photos and scan them in to make them digital so I can share them with everyone. I have also gone to the Bahamas, Cancun, Grand Cayman Island, and Haiti.  Unfortunately, I have yet to visit Canada.

4.  Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Rose from Two and a Half Men.  The actress is named Melanie Lynskey, but no one seems to know that.  I get mistaken for her quite a bit, actually.  I think she is very pretty and quite quirky on the show, which I like a lot, so I take it as a complement.  Also, Mr. Mess should be well-warned that I could have a little streak of crazy in me that might bring me to push a serial-cheating husband in front of a train.  😉

5.  What are your three biggest pet peeves?
 People who are late (so rude!), people who drive without their headlights on at night or in the rain (do you WANT to be hit?), and people with illogical opinions about… well… anything.

6.  What is your favorite movie?
Like potato chips, I can never choose just ONE favorite movie.  I have one for every mood.  Fried Green Tomatoes is probably the closest to my “one” movie.  It is perfect when I want to laugh, cry, or just enjoy a great story-line with wonderful acting.  There are so many fantastic lines.  My favorite of all time?

Cover of "Fried Green Tomatoes (Widescree...

[Evelyn is cut off in a parking lot]
Evelyn Couch: Hey! I was waiting for that spot!
Girl #1: Face it, lady, we’re younger and faster!
[Evelyn rear-ends the other car six times]
Girl #1: What are you *doing*?
Girl #2: Are you *crazy*?
Evelyn Couch: Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.

I also love 28 Days Later if I’m in the mood for something scary or with zombies, 40-Year-Old Virgin or Hitch if I want to snort my beverage through my nose from laughing, House of Glass and Fog or Crash if I’m contemplative or need a good sob, and several others that I could watch again and again.
7.  What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor.  Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Water, water, and more water.  I drink almost 90 ounces of water most days.  I don’t really drink any soda, no tea, absolutely no coffee (gross), and very little alcohol.  I occasionally enjoy a glass of good, sweet white wine.
8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Reading.  I rediscovered my love of reading this past weekend on my fishing trip.  Since then I have devoured about 5 books.  I also really enjoy sleeping in and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m pretty boring when I’m doing “me time.”  Sometimes I might leave the house for a massage or pedicure, but relaxing me is almost always at home.
9. What is your biggest phobia?
I don’t really have anything that I would call a “phobia.”  I’m not too keen on the idea of burning to death, but I love fire.  Give me a good campfire and I can be mesmerized for hours, plus the smell of burning wood is one of my favorite scents of all time.  I suppose I’m just a study in contradictions.
10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?
Tell me why I would want to do that….  Nothing really comes to mind immediately, but I do know my Dad used to embarrass me constantly.  He was always the one yelling at the top of his lungs at every softball game.  He also used to look around at the scenery so much while he was driving that we once got pulled by a cop on our way home from church because of how much he was swerving.  That is a funny memory now, but I was mortified back then.
11. What day would you love to relive again? Why?
That’s kinda hard.  There isn’t one particular day that stands out as the one day I would want to live again because it was so fantastic.  I guess I will have to pick a day that I made a mistake that I wish I could undo.  I am keeping the exact day and mistake to myself. 
12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you?
This is a strange one.  Who has ever had this conversation with a friend?  Also, what am I – a mind reader?
13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
File clerk, J.C. Penney associate, call center staff.
14. Show us a picture from high school or college.
I did just find this horribly grainy, teeny picture of me from a larger, scanned picture of our entire showchoir my freshman year of high school.  Take out your magnifying glass!
15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
On a trip around the world, duh!   Why limit yourself to one location when you can pick everywhere?
16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now?
That is a really random number of years from now…  Let’s see…  I will be one month past my 34th birthday.  I hope that I am happy, healthy, and in a fulfilling marriage with a recovering sex addict who is 8 years sober.  I also hope that I have finally gotten a chance to see Canada!
17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?
I don’t want to stay one age forever.  I look forward to growing old, changing, maturing, and experiencing every part of life.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick “Middle School”, “High School”, “College”, “Post College” or any format you like.)
I know I have at least 5 songs on my blog thus far.  Click the “Music” category to the right and pick a few.  They are all there because they are part of my life.

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts?
I can’t wait until this election is over so people will finally talk about something else!

Enjoying Myself

7 Aug

This is just a quick little update.  Yesterday was rocky.  Mr. Mess was home after working overnight Sunday into the wee hours of Monday.  I won’t go into details, but things got off to a rough start immediately when I found a 2:30 am call from an unknown number and he was cagey and secretive about it before finally admitting 6 questions in that it was a woman at work.  His inability to be up-front and honest caused a blow out (which mainly consisted of him yelling, cursing at me, and being an all-around sarcastic ass).  This all culminated with the discovery that he hasn’t been taking his mood stabilizing medications since the end of May!

Yesterday I admit that I got too caught up in all of HIS mess.  Not today.  After a night sleeping apart and a wonderful waking time of 9 am, I felt good as new.  My Mom called and said she had tickets to an Indian exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art, and I headed over to meet her.  We had a nice lunch, spent over an hour in the special exhibit, then a few more wandering through the rest of the building.  We saw tons of stuff, from ancient Greece civilizations to a real Mummy to Civil War relics and Renaissance art.  They have paintings, sculptures, furniture, and a solid silver carriage that an Indian king rode in.  I have to admit that I don’t get a lot of the modern pieces.  There was one that I swear was literally a bunch of junk from a dumpster and scrap yard piled on top of each other.  Weird and ugly.

Ok, so we didn’t go here… Still, it was a great time.

We also spent a fairly significant amount of time in the gift shop, which is almost like a museum of sorts itself.  I picked out fantasy decorations for my future dream home (once I have millions, since this stuff was expensive!).  I discovered that I have very good, very pricey taste.  🙂   I also saw some really cool pieces, like a purse made from soda can tabs and string.  So fun and cute!  I would own an adorable one with teal accents if it weren’t $250.  Eeek!!  I did, however, purchase myself a journal with an intricate, beautiful blue and silver cover and a girly, white onyx and pearl ring.

I spent some time on myself today, and it was amazing!  I’m looking forward to the rest of my vacation, including a haircut and shopping tomorrow.  Yay!!  I have already gotten a manicure and pedicure with gorgeous fuchsia polish that has a glimmer of purple when it moves in the light.  I’m afraid I’m going to get hooked on this because I already don’t want to go back to work next week.

Being a Procrastinator

23 Apr

Since I have vowed to myself that I will be honest in this blog I have to admit something.  My husband is not the only procrastinator in this relationship.  I think one of the reasons that the D-Day Antiversary (I’m stealing this term from someone on SI because it is perfect) hit me so hard is that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.  This post is not about my husband.  I am not discounting that he has put off a lot of things that are really important to me, stopped going to individual counseling for 6 months, and has been passive in the recovery process.  But I’ve got to focus on me, and I’ve been just gliding along, too.

This weekend I realized that some of the books I started reading at the beginning of this process are still sitting unfinished.  In the first month or two after D-Day I threw myself into the process of figuring out what happened, dealing with my emotions, trying to find a way to grow, and reading anything I could get my hands on that helped me understand what was going on and put it all in perspective.  I had individual counseling sessions every week, I attended group sessions with other betrayed wives every Wednesday night, and if it wasn’t related to infidelity, sexual addiction, or working on my marriage I wasn’t reading it (and I’m a lifetime, avid reader of just about anything).  Then I burned out.  So here are my personal 12-Steps into and back out of the destructive procrastination cycle.

The first step for me was taking a mental break from 24/7 self-help reading (Step 1: Much Needed Respite).  It actually wasn’t a bad decision because there is only so much that a person’s brain can take in, process and applyGame of Thrones was about to come out on HBO, and I got a great deal on the box set of books from Amazon.  I told myself I would just read the first book as a brain break, then go back to the Shattered Vows book my group was working through.  After all, we were only covering a few pages at a time and I was already caught up to our current place.

This seemed much more appealing…

… than this.

It sounded great.  But I devoured the first book and was through it in just a few days.  I told myself I didn’t take nearly enough “time off” from dealing with all the emotional crap.  I deserved at least one more book…  Before I knew it I had read all 4 and the Shattered Vows book was sitting somewhere collecting dust (Step 2: Enjoying my “Vacation” a Little Too Much).

But I was still going to my group every week, I still had individual counseling, and my husband and I had even added in marriage counseling.  Surely that was enough…  In fact, maybe it was too much (Step 3: Rationalization).  My group meeting was late at night (starting at 7:30 and not ending until after 9:00 pm most nights), far away (at least 45 minutes, over a bridge, and through a few tolls), and all of this constant thinking about the infidelity was really starting to get me down (of course I was clinically depressed at that time and in complete denial).  Still, I kept going because I did really love the women in my group and the support I got.

Then in July my husband lost his job, had surgery on his deviated septum about one week later (it was already scheduled), and my grandfather died (the same day as my husband’s surgery).  Now I was reeling emotionally not just from the betrayal but also because my grandfather and I were extremely close.  Although he was sick with cancer and we had known for a few months, his death was due to a slip and fall that was completely out of the blue.  On top of that we had medical bills, a significantly reduced income, and a very unsure future in more than one way (Step 4: Life Happens).

Being the “fixer” and overachiever I am I decided to get a second job.  It was a good idea, and I was able to get one surprisingly quickly as a tutor at a local franchise.  I would be able to earn a little extra money, help pay down our bills, and give myself a little much-needed reassurance that we would make it through this.  The only problem was – I had to be available nights.  And Wednesday was a big tutoring night, especially for the SAT kids that I specialized in.  There goes group (Step 5: Over Functioning).  Sure, I kept in touch with some of the ladies (still do) and told myself I would swing by on nights when I wasn’t scheduled to teach.  But somehow that never happened.

Then my husband started school and got a part-time job (that transitioned to a full-time position).  Our schedules got hectic.  We barely saw each other since one or the other of us always seemed to be out of the house for something – work, school, second job, therapy, group meetings (him), etc.  We had to cancel one marriage counseling session, then never made another one – mostly because we arbitrarily decided we didn’t really like her (Step 6: Justification).  My own individual therapy sessions petered out, then stopped (Step 7: Withdrawing).

Before I knew it I was stuck on this hamster wheel of working, scarfing down a few bites to eat, then working some more.  If I ever did get “down time” I felt extremely exhausted and mostly wanted to fill it with sleeping, watching TV, or some other mindless activity (Step 8: Major Depression).  The 5th Game of Thrones book came out, and I pre-ordered it through Amazon.  It was on my doorstep bright and shiny the day it was released, and you can bet that I cracked that sucker open immediately and made time to read it.  I should have realized then that my excuses for not continuing my full-on recovery were just that (Step 9: Denial).

Something happened around September of last year that caused enough impact that my husband and I found another marriage counselor and gave that process another shot.  I can’t remember the exact incident (that’s how foggy everything had become), but I do recall that it was something that I strongly requested my husband take initiative on.  Whether it was guilt, anger, something surrounding our 1 year wedding anniversary, or an entirely different matter I’m not sure.  But it was a really great decision, and the psychologist was a really great choice.   We started going weekly.  I noticed that we were communicating better, connecting more often, and having fewer arguments.  I somehow allowed myself to believe that was enough – that I could bury everything else and we would be great (Step 10: Coasting).

Then over the weekend of March 31st everything I was keeping deep inside busted out in one torrent of emotional vomit.  And like my reaction to vomiting in real life, once it started I couldn’t stop it (I have been hospitalized twice for dehydration related to uncontrollable vomiting – once as a baby and again 3 years ago after an unfortunate food poisoning incident).  Since then I have come to realize that all of the feelings and hurt I had about the infidelity and my husband’s sex addiction didn’t just go away.  I was just covering them up with activity, denial, fear, and a false sense of accomplishment (Step 11: True Self-Discovery).  I was reverting to the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” mindset that if I didn’t acknowledge something it didn’t exist.  It’s the completely non-fun adult version of “peek-a-boo” – I put my hands in front of my face so I couldn’t see my pain then acted surprised when it jumped out at me.

I decided this weekend to recommit myself to personal growth and healing.  I found the book Shattered Vows and dusted it off – literally and figuratively.  I have already found a lot of things that I relate to and can apply directly to where I am today.  I also pulled out the marriage book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and we worked through one of the “quizzes” and the exercise that followed.  I asked my husband to commit to doing at least one of those per week together.  He gladly agreed.  I have also combed through some of the books that other women recommend on SI, and ordered myself 4 of them with a gift card I won the weekend I had to work (D-Day Antiversary #1).  The way I figure it there is no better way to treat myself and use those winnings than investing in my own health and future.  I will not be passive in my healing again (Step 12: Resolve).

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

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