Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Another Impact of Divorce

Friends of mine are in the middle of what is shaping up to be an ugly divorce. It started off friendly enough, with weekly family dinners for the kids and cordial custody drop-offs, and has segued into hostility and anger. I feel badly for both of them, and for their kids. And for myself.

So for the sake of the story, let's call this couple Bob and Alice. Bob and I are very close, as are Bob and my husband and Bob's kids and my daughter. Alice and I were very close for a long time too, but since long before the divorce was set into play, she backed away. She stopped coming around, stopped communicating with me, stopped wanting to be part of any activities having to do with Bob. That strained our friendship in a big way (not seeing or communicating with someone can do that).

I recently met Bob's new love interest. Bob didn't want the divorce to begin with, but now that it is underway, he is happy to have some companionship again. He had been lonely for a long time in the marriage, and I think the attention is doing him some good. So in any case, we all got together - my little family, Bob and his kids, and the new love (let's call her Sandy) and her kids. I can't say I'm too fond of her, and I feel really badly for saying that because I know Bob is happy. But she just isn't someone I can see myself being close with. We went to a gastropub for dinner and she didn't understand any of the dishes on the menu - they were too complicated. She dressed wayyy down to go for brunch, like in workout pants and an over-sized t-shirt. And in case you think I am just being an elitist (which, yes, I kind of am), she also made racist comments, and so did her kids. I may be snobby in judging someone who doesn't know what Gruyere is, but I am just not a fan of someone who casually compares monkeys to black people.

So ok, whatever, he is dating someone I don't love. No biggie. But here's the issue. Bob is part of my life, and he is part of a lot of things I do on a regular basis. And now this woman is going to be part of those things, which then makes me not look forward to those things quite as much. I am wondering how I can uninvite him to these things in a way that won't hurt his feelings and I have not come up with a way quite yet.

The first test will be next weekend, when we have a whole weekend planned with them. No kids, thankfully; just the four of us. This is going to be a big test for me because I really hate to limit my ties with Bob but I just cannot with Sandy if she is the same this weekend as the last time I saw her. And then Bob will get his feelings hurt, and I know he is already going through a really hard time and I know he relies strongly on my opinions and this will crush him. But ugh. I am not a fan of this lady, nor am I good at keeping my big mouth shut.

(I just looked back at the menu because I was thinking that maybe it was exotic and I am being unfair, at least on that front, and really, it isn't a complicated menu at all. There are things like Blue Catfish Tacos and Pork Belly Mac & Cheese Fries on the menu...and I had a booze-infused snowball for dessert, so it was certainly not a foreign language like she claimed.)

After our get-together, I posted a photo of us all on my fb. Alice must have seen it and subsequently unfriended me because of it. Bob says I should not feel badly because we haven't talked in forever and of course I am going to meet and be friendly with his new girlfriend. But I still feel awful about it, because I truly did love Alice and this woman is no replacement for her. I feel like that is the trade I made - Alice for Sandy.

I want a trade-back.

Friday, May 20, 2016

NOODZ at Work

So here's a thing that happened at work today.

We had an employee leave the company a couple weeks back. She was overall a pretty bad employee and we weren't sad to see her go. Today, I had my team go and pack up her belongings so we could send them to her.

They gathered everything in boxes and then sorted it out (since some stuff, like half-eaten food or mugs with mold in them, were not things we would send). As they packed, they came across some photos and this is where things got crazy.

These were hardcore nudes.

Like, completely naked in the shower. Like, licking her own nipple for the camera. Like, a super close-up of her vag, spread open with her long fingernails. There were probably a dozen of this photos.

They were actual printed photos - I thought the kids just texted their noodz, but I was wrong! - and she brought them to work. She had them on her desk, under some other photos of her daughter. Walgreen's printed these out for her.

Also in her desk was a letter written to her ex-boyfriend. It was at least 8 pages long, and started with the sentence: "I'm typing this instead of hand-writing it because I am at work and I can pretend to work by typing." (God, am I sorry she longer works here!) In it, she talks about how often he cheated on her, made other women get abortions, got her to fight with other women, and beat her so that she would have to wear long sleeves in the summer to cover the bruises. She talks about how much she still loves him and always will, despite the fact that she isn't good enough for him. She was mailing this letter to him in prison, where she has gone to visit him and seen all the other women there visiting him as well.

I went from giggling at this deluded young girl's attempts at amateur porn to feeling so sad for her. I love women who love and celebrate their bodies and sexuality, and I don't think it's something to shame them for (however, I don't think you should be bringing proof of your self-adoration to work). But after seeing the letter and the photos in conjunction, I just felt sad. She is a damaged person, so lacking in self-esteem that she was begging her horrible ex to come back and trying to tempt him with erotic photos. This is not the kind of thing you expect to have to face at work, and I was glad that she was no longer an employee so I didn't have to address this with her.

So yeah, when you think of your evil HR Director, keep in mind the things she has to deal with. And the images she can't erase from her mind.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Friendship is Hard

It's hard sometimes to be friend with your child's friend's parents.

I get along really well with S. We have such a good time together and have really deep conversations that I don't have with many other of my close friends. She is open about her life - abuse in her childhood and it's impact on her life now, the failure of her marriage, and pretty much anything other topic. And she makes me more open and vulnerable, which is something I am not used to being.

But then there's her relationship with her daughter (whom I adore, it must be said).

I am close with my daughter. We spend a lot of time together, whether it's out and about or just hanging around the house, we are tied at the hip. And I love that, because I know in another year or two, that may all change as puberty and teen angst kick in full force. I'd have her around me all the time if I could because I really enjoy her company and she is a cool kid.

With that said...there's such a thing as too close. Or maybe its more that despite me adoring my daughter and wanting very much for her to be happy all the time, I have no intention of letting her run the show. I'm the mom, I'm the adult, I make the decisions. I hear her out and listen to her concerns, but ultimately she needs to follow direction from me and not the other way around. We are not equals and I don't acquiesce to her desires.

My friend does this. Her daughter runs the show all the time. We went on vacation with them about a month ago and all S wanted to do was look for shells. We were in shell heaven down in Captiva, and all S talked about for months was finding shells. The day arrives and we have plans to go shelling (well, for the rest of them to go shelling and for me to sit on the beach and safely bronze myself). S changes her mind and says she is going to take her daughter shopping for a dress. Keep in mind that our resort was alllll the way at the end of Captiva, so to get to the mainland, you had to drive through all of Captiva and then all of Sanibel and over the bridge back to Fort Meyers....about 45 minutes or so, just to get back to civilization, and then find a store to shop in. So S gave up her day of shelling to take M shopping instead of doing what she had been most looking forward to.

This past Saturday, we had the kids attend a gymnastics night so we could go out. The thing ran from 5-9pm, so when we picked up the kids it was barely 9pm. On a Saturday night. On our way to get them, we had been talking about them coming back to my house for cocktails - I had been dying to make a Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with Fireball and Rum Chata, and this seemed like a great opportunity to do it. Our girls are night owls so 9pm is no stretch for them to be out. We make plans and then drop them off at their house so they can get their own car to come over and let their dog out. Ten minutes later comes the text: M just wants to stay home so we are going to pass this time. So they didn't come over. S wanted to. The girls were having fun together. M just gets moody sometimes and wants to be alone (like she is at the point where instead of sitting together to read or whatever, M will tell her mom to leave the room and sit elsewhere so she can be alone! What?!) so S catered to her and they didn't come over, despite our plans.

I love S. She is among my best friends and someone I love spending time with. We can talk and talk for hours and it is never strained or weird. We can talk about politics and race and our childhoods and also about sex and parental gossip and fashion. But I am struggling so much with her blind acquiescence to her daughter. It impacts our friendship and it will also impact M - never being told no and never being made to do something you don't want to do is no way to learn about the real world.

Friday, May 13, 2016


I was an early adopter of Twitter. I had my account set up and was actively tweeting by March 2007, at a time when almost no one had even heard of Twitter and it was this inexplicable thing on the internet that people kind of refused to even try to understand.

And I loved it.

I had a group of followers who I loved. They were interesting. They came from different parts of the world and had different views from me. They were outspoken. They were funny. We were a tight-knit group and we felt like friends. We confided things in each other (this one had an abusive husband; that one was an addict) that we didn't tell anyone else.

And then it kind of fell apart for me. The busier it got, the more people who signed up and tweeted out ignorant bullshit, the less I wanted to be on there. Some people were fake. Some were so needy that it felt like a full time job. Some didn't follow me, but looked at my timeline every day and tweeted back at me in a harassing manner. It got old.

I use Twitter now in a very, very different way. The friends I had on Twitter I have now friended on Facebook - which I was never a fan of and still am not, but I use it every few days - and that's where I see them and talk to them and find out what's up in their lives. (They finally learned my real name instead of calling me True Jersey Girl, which was weird for a while but now it's all good.)The only time I open Twitter nowadays is when something is going on in the world - politically, usually, but also tv show finales or world events - to see what people are saying. I occasionally retweet, and much less occasionally I tweet myself. I am on and off in a matter of minutes. I don't converse with people and I don't feel like part of the Twitter family any more. And I am good with that.

Since I stopped using Twitter so much, I find myself to be so much more in the moment in my real life. I go out and enjoy things without thinking of what picture to take or what pithy comment I can tweet. And it really has enriched my life to remove Twitter from it.

What I see when I go on there now are not things I want in my life.

The trolling is out of control. I posted a picture a while back of a sign in a bar that said something about consent being sexy, or something like that. Men I had never tweeted with and whom I did not follow, nor did they follow me, started harassing me. Why? Who is sitting there looking for women to troll about consent? I don't have time for or interest in debating with idiots. It's not worth it to me. And the people who don't know me but feel the need to say things about me to their followers - so fucking stupid and childish and again, something I have no time for.

The bickering within my group of political "friends" is insane. We are all progressives, but yet the vitriol spit between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters is out of control and I hate to see it. We used to fight together against Republicans trying to take away women's rights or fighting sensible gun control laws, and now it's all about fighting each other. It kills my soul a little bit each time I see it, and it exhausts me.

It bothers me a little to know that I am not a part of something I helped start. I was on Twitter when the service went down at least once a day (at least). I was there when there were about 500 people total, and I was friends with 300 of them. I was there before there were apps to get you fake followers, and, in fact, when the number of followers you had was not important because we all followed each other. I was there for Stripper Friday. I was there before hashtags, and before you could @ people. I used to tweet numerous times a day, and I think I was pretty good at it. I was funny, entertaining, sexy, and smart.

And Twitter lost me. Every time I think of tweeting, I choose not to. I'd rather text a friend than tweet into the ether. And every time I go on there, I get a headache. It's all noise. It's all people talking into the void and not hearing anyone else. It makes me long for the Twitter of 2007. But those days are gone, and so am I.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Updated Travel Plans - The Good and the Bad

I was looking back at an earlier post I did about our 2016 vacations and I said in it that I was not that excited for our planned trip to Toronto. The good news is that we redid that trip and decided to go to Vancouver instead. I am definitely psyched for that one, since I have never been. We will also take a side trip to Whistler, which sounds amazing to me. I haven't researched this trip much, but I'm hoping for slightly cooler summer days than you find in Jersey so we can spend our days outside, maybe hiking and just enjoying the great outdoors.

Hubby started looking at deals on cruises for November and at some point decided he didn't think it was the way to go. So I started looking into Budapest, since I am dying to go there. I got myself all excited - picked out a fantastic hotel and flights and had the whole trip together. Then hubby decided he wanted to do the cruise after all. The good is that it goes to Belize and Honduras, both places I have not been, and that we have upgraded to specialty dining and all booze is included. The bad is that it also goes to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico - and I hate both of those ports. I've been to both of them twice and they really just aren't my thing. I'm trying to stay positive about it because I know I will just stay on the ship those days and drink in the sun, but I was so excited for Budapest.

I'm hoping for next year, we can go to Budapest and Cuba. Those are my do-or-die spots for 2017. Anything beyond that will be gravy. I don't think I can convince hubby to do the Exumas next year as well, since these are all pricey trips...but I'm going to give it a shot and have the best 2017 ever.

Today's Playlist

Here's what I am playing on repeat today:
  1. Don't Hurt Yourself - Beyonce f/ Jack White
  2. Jolene - White Stripes
  3. Stop Crying - Bobby Bare, Jr.
  4. Right Turn - Alice in Chains f/ Chris Cornell
  5. Nutshell - Aaron Lewis 
  6. Midlife Crisis - Faith No More
  7. Whenever We Wanted - John Mellencamp
  8. Emily - From First to Last
  9. Criminal - Fiona Apple
  10. I Want You So Hard - Pearl Jam
  11. A Deep Slow Panic - AFI
Mostly all old-school there, and several cover songs. The only new ones are Beyonce and Pearl Jam. I'm always obsessed with Pearl Jam, and I've always liked and admired Beyonce but with her Lemonade release, I'm really enjoying her.

This is a really strange mix of music, now that I look at it. A little sad and wistful, despite me not feeling that way at all.