I had a great Christmas!  First of all, I was able to go the entire holiday season without seeing Mark's sister!  For Christmas Eve, we skipped the traditional family gathering with his parents and had dinner at an upscale restaurant, then spent time at the piano singing songs, with me drinking WAY too much wine!  We went to his parents house the next day to exchange gifts with them, and it was just his parents and us, way too cool!  No kids running around, just adults!  I was thinking wow, this is so peaceful! 

But we took our little dog with us, and when I took him outside on his leash, Mark told his Dad where we had gone for Christmas Eve, and his Dad said he had figured that we had wanted to avoid the kids this year, which Mark acknowledged.  It's really not so much about the kids frankly, it's having to buy gifts for ungrateful people, which I've already posted way too many times about the topic.  Not seeing his sister was just an added bonus, ha!  But anyway, his Dad told Mark how important it was for them to have ALL the family together during the holidays, and the only reason they did it every year on Christmas Eve was because that was when his sister always wanted to do it.  But since we wanted to do other things on Christmas Eve now, from now on we would all negotiate which day we would get together and she'll just have to understand.  When Mark told me on the way home, I thought, "Are you kidding me?  So we're not out of this for good?"    His sister will be so mad next year, but honestly, nothing will be keeping her from spending Christmas Eve with her parents.  It just won't be the whole family get-together at her parent's house on Christmas Eve.  And this year we made a stand - we didn't buy any presents for all the kids, so we can not continue that from hereon out.  Hopefully.  I don't think the kids even care - I don't remember my aunts and uncles buying Christmas presents for me growing up.  But again, it's not even about the presents!  I would gladly buy them something to make them happy, it's the parents!

Mark gave me the coolest Motorola running watch for Christmas, and I ran outside for the first time ever since I started running last July.  It was cold, but I found that I liked running when it's cold - you don't get all sweaty!  But I was disappointed in my performance, I only ran 3 miles, but really, after not running for 6-7 weeks, I should be happy that I can run that far without stopping to walk.  I had decided to take it easy on my first try, so I definitely can improve my performance pretty quickly.  The device has a website to track your runs, just so many statistics about them, I can't believe how cool it is!  And you can upload your music to the watch, and then listen to it on bluetooth headphones!  It really was an awesome experience. : )  I thought I'd be embarrassed running and having other people looking at me in their cars, but I wasn't.  I figured they were thinking "that's what I should be doing - getting off my lazy butt and running...", because that's what I always think when I see someone outside running.

I still don't know if I have the part time job yet.  I turned in the final transcript of the last audio file, and she returned it to me saying there were a lot of corrections needed, that the accuracy wasn't good enough and to check the sound on my computer.  I decided to put the audio file on my iphone and listen to it, and was really surprised at how much better it sounded!  I have spent an *unbelievable* amount of time on this one file to get this job, I mean really, it's unreal how much time I've poured into "possibly" getting a job.  If I don't get it, it will still be great experience for transcribing which I can use in my soon-to-be profession, but wow, the audio is so hard to hear.  Anyway, I listened to it for the final time and even had Mark listen to it to see if there was anything I had missed, then sent it back.  Hopefully (big hopefully) it's good enough for me to get the job!  If there are things that I can't hear or understand, and neither could Mark, then I'm just not meant for the job.  I don't who would be.  Maybe someone with expensive audio forensic software?

I'm out of school for about 2 more weeks.  I thought I would be bored, but I've kept so very busy so far.  I met with a friend from school to practice at Starbucks, but she ended up talking the whole time - for two hours! and I finally put all my stuff up and told her I was leaving.  She said "oh!  Okay, let's practice now!", but I was done, sitting there for two hours listening to her talk, while I enjoyed it, I wasn't about to sit there for a few more hours longer.  We have planned to meet twice a week at Starbucks to practice, and tomorrow is one of the days.  If she starts talking again, I really don't know if I can be rude and tell her I'm there to practice and I need to practice.  If she needs or wants someone to talk to, well, we're friends, I don't want to deny her that.  But at the same time, the whole reason we're meeting is not to socialize, it's to keep up with our schoolwork while we're on break.  Maybe I'll just act not as friendly or something, like I'm very determined to get to work, I don't know.

For once, we have plans for New Year's Eve.  I don't know why, but I've been really outgoing lately.  I made plans to see a show and have dinner, and celebrate New Year's at a comedy club.  Something sort of laid back, not too formal, but I'll still probably dress up.  I don't ever remember doing anything with Mark on New Year's Eve, but he was all too happy to do something when I suggested it.  It's like I'm always the "party coordinator" with him, and he's glad to show up to whatever I plan.  And if I don't play the part, he'll stay at home with me and not do anything, too. 

One of the things he wanted for Christmas was an Xbox, so I gave him one, and then we went today to buy him a television for his office because I realized that I didn't want him playing games when I wanted to watch television in the living room or when I wanted to sleep in bed.  So now he has his Xbox 360 and a big new television in his office, and I don't know if he'll ever come out!

That's about it, I can't see that I have any bipolar symptoms.  I've lost 30 pounds since my doctor switched me to Latuda in July, and to get back to the weight I was when Mark met me 14 years ago, I have 30 more pounds to go.  But for now, it sure feels great to be rid of those 30 pounds!    


Found Family Members!

The coolest thing happened to me!  I haven't talked to anyone on my mom's side of the family since I was about 16 or so, when I moved out, so maybe 25 years.  One of my cousins has been looking for me for several years, and when my Dad died, she found his online obituary matching his last name (my maiden name) with my new married name, she found me on Facebook and voila, I'm now connected to a part of my family that I've missed out on for decades!  I have all of these childhood memories of these people, and great to see that they have such good hearts.  The strange thing is - not one of them has mentioned my mother - not one of them, not even once.  No one has said, "So how is your mother?", or if they do NOT know where she is, "Where is your mother?"  So if she said horrible things about me, they aren't saying.  It's more likely that she wrote them off and she wants nothing to do with them, and they know exactly where she is.  I don't care, it's just awesome that they were actually looking for me, and now I have all of these family members that I didn't have before!

I got an A in the only class I'm taking at school this quarter!  It's only one class, but it's 3 hours a day, Monday - Friday.  I took a smaller course load this quarter because this was my first quarter at the new school and academics had started the week before I began.  Starting in January, I'll have an extra class.  I used to have so much leisure time, now I find myself with very little since I started my new job.  I'm still in training, but it's almost over, and I have no idea how busy I'll be once I start.  I'm thinking the more busy, the better, because that would mean the more money I'd make.  And that would mean the better I would feel about contributing to the household, and how much more self-sufficient I would feel, which is very important to me.  But I can't work too much, I need my main focus to be on school.  That's the whole idea of getting a part time job, and especially one where I can make my own hours.

Mark and I have good days in counseling, and we have had a few bad days in counseling.  In our last counseling session, it went well.  The session was partially focused on just Mark, with her asking if he'd considered coming in by himself.  She keeps saying he's going through an "exostential crisis", but whatever it is, it makes him unhappy with life in general.  He's not necessarily depressed, but he's unhappy, how do I explain the difference?  Unfulfilled, perhaps?  Maybe he IS depressed, I'm not a therapist or psychiatrist.

It's December the 16th, and we still have no plans for Christmas, none whatsoever.  We have hardly talked about it, just about what we do NOT want to do.  I'm afraid we'll decide to go to his parent's house at the last minute, and then be scrambling for children's gifts at the last minute.  I'll have no idea what to get them at that point.  I'm pretty much over the gift giving thing, I don't care anymore, but now Mark is pretty dead set against spending the money.  It would make quite a statement to go to his parent's house without gifts for the kids, and that's a statement I'm not prepared to make.  It's just...the people with 3 kids have to buy 2 gifts, the people with 2 kids have to buy 3 gifts, and people with no kids have to buy 5 gifts, and we don't buy cheap gifts.  The parents give us nothing in return, barely a nod of acknowledgement of the gift we gave their children.  It's just EXPECTED of us.  Who wants to give a gift like that?  Okay, maybe I'm not completely over the gift giving thing, but I don't mind just doing it and getting it over with to get through Christmas in peace.

I'd been feeling really lonely this year around the holidays, like I have no family that's close to me, because, well, I actually don't, so reconnecting with family members has been a wonderful Christmas gift.  It's really brightened up my mood! 


Sad Day

I had a very emotional day - I was quite depressed.  I'm not sure what triggered it.  Perhaps it was seeing a picture of my mother on FB, and noticing (and Mark commenting) we have the same body frame - a small body structure.  Not short, just small bones.  It reminded me we're connected, and then I went to bed and started dreaming about that side of my family and woke up feeling disoriented.  I started wondering all day, with all the shit that went down in my childhood, why am *I* the outcast? 

I went to school, and during the last hour of dictation, I started to cry, but managed to keep it in and only my eyes got misty.  When class was over, I quickly packed my things up and headed out the door.  My friend was talking to me about how she was discouraged over how hard the tests were today, and I didn't have much to say, I wanted out of there, I just felt awful emotionally.

So on my home, soon after I left, she called me on my cell and apologized if she was rude to me or said anything that made me think she was mad, she was just frustrated at the tests.  I knew that, and told her everything was okay, I didn't mean to make her think I was upset with her.  I was surprised that she reacted so much to what I thought was not a big deal, I just left class in a hurry.  I suppose I looked unhappy, and she took it to mean I was unhappy with her.  I was stunned that she cared that much about my feelings.  People can be so self involved and callous, it's refreshing to meet someone who's not.  Maybe I'll surprise her and buy her a Christmas present. : )

So I got home, just so depressed and kind of crying.  I HATE feeling sorry for myself, but sometimes, you're just down, and you can't shake it.  You feel a certain way, not really knowing why or what to do about it, and I wonder, is this a bipolar thing, or does this happen to "normal people" too? 

Mark called and of course he could tell I was upset, so I told him what was really bothering me.  I was the outcast, so maybe it really was ME and not THEM.  He made me feel so much better.  During my childhood, I'm really the only witness who knows and will admit what happened.  My brother was too young to remember, my mother's ex-husband refuses to admit he abused me, and only my mother and I know the truth.  He said she knows I am probably the only one who sees her for who she really is, and refuse to play by her rules.  It's true, I won't coddle her for her affection. have a relationship, it takes two people.  Even if I wanted to mend our relationship, I don't think she would be willing.  And if she did, it would come with remarks that would be very hurtful, the anger would come back, and when I get angry about my childhood, it comes out big, in emails that I can't take back that say horrible things.

So it's almost Christmas, and I'm worried that I've turned Mark against his family.  Well, no, not his family, but his sister.  We don't get along, but he is fed up with her on his own too.  It certainly doesn't help that I complain about her though.  Now Mark doesn't want to go to his family's house on their tradional Christmas Eve gathering.  That makes me feel awful.  But I brought up something that has really irritated me for years now.  In his family everybody (except his parents) buy presents only for the children and not the adults.  Well Mark and I don't have kids, so we end up buying all these presents, yet their parents don't give us anything in return.  I don't care about them buying us something, it's just...if someone were to buy my kids something year after year, and we buy all these kids VERY nice gifts, I would want to give them something in return.  How can they just let people buy their kids gifts and not want to reciprocate?  It seems so selfish.  And with Mark's sister being so jealous of Mark that it feels like she is just seething and bursting at the seams whenever we are around her to say something to him, I just don't like being around her.  It's why I didn't go to his parent's house at Thanksgiving.  She doesn't wish him well, not at all, I can tell.  But Mark and his sister have different priorities, they've chosen different paths in life.  If she had been determined to be successful in business, she could have been, but that's not the road she chose, and that's not who she chose to marry.  So we have nicer things, I'm sorry that makes her so upset and she thinks it's unfair, there's nothing I can do about that.  Her political views are just so...socialistic.

I keep thinking of things that I want to tell my Dad, and then I remember "Oh, he's gone", and it makes me sad.  There were so many things left unsaid, there are so many things I wish I could take back and apologize for, but I'll never get the chance. 

Family.  People complain so much about theirs.  At least they have one to complain about.   I certainly don't want to take Mark's away from him.

I Got The Job! : )

I got the job!  A part time job I can do while going to school that is actually in the field that I'm studying which will look awesome on my resume once I graduate.  It's in the law enforcement/legal field, so they are doing a criminal background check, no big deal, but I have to get a fingerprint card and send it to them?  I've never heard of such a thing.  It sounds so interesting!  I'm used to ho hum boring finding/getting people jobs, trying to get them to take jobs they don't want, or telling them they didn't get jobs they do want, after they've called every day for two weeks and breaking their hearts.  And catering to difficult candidates and difficult hiring managers.  Or difficult account managers in an agency setting.  And finding candidates with skills that EVERYBODY wants and they know they're in high demand and they have huge egos and attitudes.  Can you tell I got really burned out on recruiting?  Sure, it's been great getting calls again to be a recruiter, it was awesome feeling wanted after I had looked for a job for about a year when the economy tanked and couldn't find anything, but I loathed thinking about going back into that field.  I've missed having my own office, working in the corporate world, but at the same time, it's just too stressful and boring to me.  I do NOT miss "corporate speak" - "forward thinking", "move the needle", "drill down", "world class", "actionable", all these stupid terms that no one uses in the real world that people say that really means nothing but makes it seem like people are really saying something.  And I "drank the kool-aid" and said the same stupid words in meetings all the time, such a follower.  No more!  Never again!

So as soon as I complete training, about a week once I start, then I'll begin my new job!  What awesome experience to have on my resume once I do graduate and look for a job in my field! 

Yay me!


Counseling and Jobs

Mark and I went to marriage counseling last Monday, and it was an emotional session for me.  It's the first time I've seen our counselor, by myself or with him, that I've cried.  We were both pretty angry at each other, but it seems that Mark's anger towards me all this time really stems from my not working, that he's the only one carrying the financial burden while I go to school.  We do struggle at times, we haven't given up anything, but it's not like it was before when I was a corporate recruiter.  So his anger comes out in different ways. 

I was just defeated in counseling, I said I couldn't go on like this anymore.  After more talking with both of them, we decided what needed to happen is for me to get a job.  I left being confused, a part time job, which I had already been looking for, or quit school and get a full time job?  I had already looked for part time jobs, applied to many of them, but haven't heard back from anyone yet.  So I looked for recruiter job openings and found quite a few this time.  Unlike 3 years ago, I started getting calls back.  I told Mark about this as I was starting to set up interviews, and he was like what are you doing?  How are you going to go to school?  I told him I didn't know, recruiters usually work too much to go to night school, so I would have to quit.  He said I had worked too hard and spent too much to quit, and to find a part time job instead.  Well that is what I wanted all along!  I was just looking for a full time job because the counselor was talking about full time jobs, but I guess he never did.  It's so weird, I feel like I could get a recruiter's position easier than - say - a part time customer service job!  I'm kind of picky about what kind of customer service - I want to be in an office and not retail, etc., but it's not highly skilled work I'm applying for here. 

There is a part time job that would be perfect for me.  It's as a transcriptionist, and since I write transcriptions all the time in school, I would be able to practice for school while I also get paid.  I got a response from the company (which I found out about from school) asking for all this information which I replied to this evening, but I just don't know if I'm experienced enough to get the job.  We'll see - fingers crossed!

I went to the ENT today and he cleared me for all normal activity/exercise finally since my surgery, and I haven't run for two weeks.  I have no idea how hard it will be for me to gain my endurance back.  It seems like I lose weight faster when I'm running a couple of times a week, so it will be good to get back to exercising, even though I HATE it so much.  Mark has started running outside instead of on the treadmill, and he is enjoying it so much better, he used to hate it too.  I would have to buy new winter running clothes, and really need a GPS running watch so I could track how far I was running and the pace, too.  I don't know, it may be getting too cold now to run outside.

My dog got sick, but I think it might have been my fault.  For Thanksgiving, I fixed him a tiny Thanksgiving plate, and he gobbled it up.  But then a few days later, he started throwing up, and the next night, he was throwing up even more.  I took him to the vet, and in their "poison cabinet", I saw a corn cob.  I didn't know corn was bad for a dog!  He ate corn on Thanksgiving.  I didn't tell the vet about it, it slipped my mind when we were talking, but she didn't feel anything on his tummy, gave him an anti-nausea shot and liquids as he had lost 1/2 pound (he only weighs 5 pounds).  She suggested doing x-rays and a blood test, but we decided to see if he would pass whatever was upsetting his tummy.  That night, in the middle of the night, he started whining like he was in pain for about 30 minutes, and shortly he wanted to go outside, which he hadn't wanted to do for a few days.  He came back in, and I guess he passed whatever was bothering him in his stomach because he's been fine ever since.  Today I just fed him rice and chicken, like she said.  Poor guy was starving, he hasn't been eating!  But the doctor said his pulse was only 56 beats per minute, down from 120 on his last visit.  She was somewhat concerned, I don't understand why it was so low.  She said that with that low of a pulse, she would think he would be passing out, but he isn't, so I'm supposed to be checking it regularly and keeping a log.  She's such a nice vet!  She's called twice today to check on him, and said she would call tomorrow and see how he's doing as well.  Bailey is a very loved little dog. : )

School is hard.  Often I wonder if I'll ever make it out of the speed I'm in, especially since I've missed so much school recently and it seems like I'm so much slower than I was before.  It's given me pause when thinking should I quit school and go back to being a recruiter?  But I know I'll be happier as a Court Reporter.  Most recruiters change jobs so often, they just aren't happy and always see grass as being greener somewhere else.  Maybe it's because you're always finding people new jobs and you want one too, I don't know. 

I can't sleep AT ALL tonight, I don't know why.  It's 2:00am and I'm wide awake!
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