Friday, January 29, 2010

Ten Movie Quotes To Get You Through Life

I love movies. Practially not one weekend away from Miss M goes by when I don't see at least one. Virtually every decent movie I see has a great quote or two that makes me think "I should remember that!" Today, while surfing through the endless list of websites I read daily while effin' around on my job, I ran across a list that I really like by Scott Tunstall at Take a look and if you have some memerable quotes of your own, let's hear them!

10 – “Pain don’t hurt.”

Delivered by: Professional bouncer James Dalton in Road House.
Why it matters: We learn at an early age that a lot of stuff will cause us pain. It sucks, but it’s inevitable. Using Dalton’s Zen-like philosophy, we can disconnect the pain thus rendering it powerless. Works great when you slam your finger in the car door.

9 – “You dick!”

Delivered by: Surfer dude Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Why it matters: We will meet plenty of assholes and morons in our lifetime. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade and tell these purveyors of douchebaggery what you think of them. It might lead to a confrontation, but it beats being a doormat.

8 – “Look eye, always look eye.”

Delivered by: Martial arts master Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid.
Why it matters: You’ll get a lot further down life’s path if you look people in the eye. Don’t give them a reason to think you’re hiding something or that you’re not trustworthy. Show no fear. Stare them down like a professional fighter, minus the psychotic snarl.

7 – “I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.”

Delivered by: Dimwitted sage Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump.
Why it matters: You don’t have to be a genius to feel love. However, you do have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with its crushing effects. Heartache and rejection will befall each and every one of us. Don’t let it defeat you. Be like Gump.

6 – “Stay frosty.”

Delivered by: Badass Colonial Marine Corporal Dwight Hicks in Aliens.
Why it matters: The worst thing you can do when you’re in a tight spot is panic and lose your water. Keep a level head no matter the predicament. Unless it has to do with man-eating aliens with acid for blood. Then you can freak out and run for the hills.

5 – “Deserve’s got nuthin’ to do with it.”

Delivered by: Cold-blooded outlaw William Munny in Unforgiven.
Why it matters: Bad shit happens to everyone for no rhyme or reason. You could be the world’s greatest humanitarian or the world’s biggest villain. Don’t look for the “why.” You won’t find it. It’s a cruel fact of life that none of us are immune to tragedy.

4 – “I have a lot of problems… but they belong to me.”

Delivered by: Dysfunctional recluse Graham Dalton in Sex, Lies and Videotape.
Why it matters: I don’t know anyone that isn’t effed up a little bit. It doesn’t mean they should be fitted for a straitjacket. Got minor hangups? It’s normal. Got serious hangups? Might be a good idea to talk to someone. Locking yourself inside a self-imposed prison isn’t very healthy.

3 – “Never tell me the odds.”

Delivered by: Clever space smuggler Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.
Why it matters: I used to gamble back in the day. Knowing the odds was critical. That being said, on occasion I picked instinct over logic and it paid off huge. Life is all about taking the plunge. Sitting back and playing it safe is for party poopers. Sometimes you gotta close your eyes and roll the dice.

2 – “I’m too old for this shit.”

Delivered by : Grizzled police Sergeant Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon.
Why it matters: Getting old blows. Trust me when I say that a night of nonstop barhopping is much tougher to recover from at 35 than at 25. If you’re not a youngster anymore, stop pretending to be one. You’ll end up looking like what you are — an old fool.

1 – “Time to die.”

Delivered by: Ruthless Replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner.
Why it matters: No one gets out alive. The sooner we come to terms with that little nugget, the easier it will be to enjoy the time we are allotted. Roy Batty wanted more. Once he learned that wasn’t possible, he graciously accepted his fate and said goodbye.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Single Parent Vacation Ideas?

So, now a year and a half into divorce, being a single parent on a day to day basis seems normal, especially since my ex spent very little time parenting my daughter with me while we were married. Miss M is getting old enough for us to do more activities together and now that she is potty trained and can communicate, extended periods away from home are less work and more fun.

My custody agreement allows for two weeks vacation away each year for each parent. With some flexibility, I'm sure Ex and I will get to a place (some day) where another week or so won't be a problem. Now the problem is, just what to do? Especially since I'm now allowed six (yes 6!) weeks of vacation from my job.

Last year during the summer, I took Miss M to the beach in South Carolina (where my family is and where I grew up). We rented a huge house and my parents as well as my sister and her 3 kids and husband came. That was fun and we'll probably do that again. My Dad loved it most of all. Miss M is his only "birth grand daughter". I have a step niece who is wonderful but she's 19 and we got her when she was older (7) so he didn't get to go through the baby stage with her. It's so fun to watch them together.

Custody agreement is really good for me time wise. When I have Miss M for the weekend, I have her from Wednesday morning until Sunday night, so long weekends are always easy. Trips to my parents, long weekends at the beach, or even "city weekends" are fun.

What about the other week or two I can go on vacation though? I'm at a loss so I thought I'd ask my single parent friends. What do you do with your kids? Keep in mind Miss M is just over 3, so it can't be too crazy, but she is a pretty active little girl. I'd love to take her on a trip that provides great activities for her, isn't crazy expensive, and can be fun for Daddy too.

Fire away kids, let me know your ideas. Oh yeah, and as BLW mentioned yesterday in my post about The Dilemma, with the exeption of Dave over at Dad's House, no dude comments? Come on fellas!!! A little help here? Maybe I don't have any dude readers. What's that about?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Dilemma

So, I don't talk too much about my personal life away from Miss M here but today, I need some feedback.

Hot Girl and I have been seeing eachother since two months after my divorce (with a 2 month break last summer). She's a great girl in a lot of ways: smart, family oriented, pretty, good sense of humor, and was really good with Miss M when they were spending time together. We broke up for a few months because among other things, we had trouble communicating. She felt I didn't take her feelings into account which frustrated her, and I felt that in things that I needed her to accept the way things are (in regard to Miss M and my Ex) she was putting too much pressure on me. I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between.

We've been back together since this past October and communication has gotten a ton better. I've yet to do the reintroduction to Miss M, however. It just doesn't seem like a good idea to me unless I'm totally sure (as much as I can be) that we're committed to the relationship long term. This means that Hot Girl has to work around the custody schedule which I admit would be difficult for anyone. We do see eachother at least twice a week and every other weekend though.

Over the last few weeks, Hot Girl has been getting frustrated and has been expressing this. She wants to see me more and to be reintroduced to Miss M. I'm hesitant. It's not because I don't think Hot Girl wouldn't make a good "friend" for Miss M or that she wouldn't be a phenomenal step mother to her if we get to that point. On the contrary, I think she'd be tremendous and I've told her so. It's the relationship between Hot Girl and me that I'm worried about.

Most times, we get along great. We love to go to movies and watch sports together, she gets my sense of humor, we're physically attracted to eachother, the sex is phenomenal (I really mean that), and we think the same way about family. Our political views are different (she's kind of a rightie whereas I am totally left). She's a "fancy" girl (which takes an entirely different meaning in NYC than anywhere else) and has trouble not being fancy. I can do either but prefer unfancy. She grew up in a wealthy Boston WASPy family that didn't talk much about feeling or express emotions. I grew up in middle class Italian family that is all about talking about EVERYTHING. I'm a mountains guy, she's a fancy beach girl. These differences can probably be worked around though (I think).

Here's my major dilemma(s):

1) Hot Girl is a high stress person. From big things like not having a job right now (understandable) to little things like not being able to get a cab on a busy day, she gets stressed out easily. I am totally the opposite BY CHOICE. I've worked very hard over the last 10 or so years to not let things get to me and someone who can't do the same causes me stress. She claims that the stress is hers and not mine to fix (I agree) but just being around it makes me uncomfortable. I have no idea what to do with this, especially since if we stay together, we are going to have stressful periods together which will mean I'll have two problems: her stress and the problem itself. Most of my life I've ended up in relationships with high stress women (it all starts with Mom), but I'm tired of being the steady calm guy who has to hold things together. It makes me tired. I want a partner who deals with things like I do by remaining calm and having faith that things will work out. Is that reasonable? I'm not even sure that women like that exist (no offense, I've just never been with one). And,

2) I've alluded to this before, but Hot Girl grew up wealthy (no big deal) and sometimes can act like a spoiled child (most times not, but sometimes). All her friends are the same way. I don't like them (at least the ones I've met). They seem like the entitled rich spoiled kids I didn't like growing up. Don't know how you all feel, but regardless of how much money a person has or how they came about getting it, I don't believe this makes one person better than another. Hot Girls says she agrees with this yet she spends her time away from me with these people who clearly think this way. Am I crazy to think that there's a strange disconnect here? My friends certainly aren't exactly like me (how boring would that be?) but we do have mostly the same values, which is a HUGE thing in a long term relationship. Is Hot Girl more like me or more like them? I just don't know how to think about this one.

She hasn't given me an ultimatum but I know she's very frustrated and wants to be with me more. That's a good thing. She keeps asking me what else does she need to do to get us to that point and I don't know the answer and have told her so. Of course, this only stresses her out more which makes me more unsure. Problem, right? I'm at a loss and things are coming to a head. I've asked her to be patient and she's trying but it's looking like that will end soon. My fears are 1) introducing Miss M to someone who will leave her life (again), and 2) ending up with someone who wasn't what they seemed to be (in my eyes) and having to break up another family. I just don't want to go through that again.

I'm not a commitment phobe nor do I expect my parter to be perfect, but these two things seem important. Feedback please??? Most of you have been doing the single parent thing longer than me. I'd love to know what you think.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Are You SuperBad?

OK, I have to admit that my sense of humor can be sometimes juvenile. I love Judd Apatow movies and this one is one of my all time favorites. Jonah Hill (Seth) when he gets on one of his neurotic run on sentence modes has to be one of the funniest guys in movies today. His "slothness" only makes it better.

Last night as I was flipping through the channels after getting Miss M to bed, I caught the last half of this movie (I own it as well). I couldn't resist watching it for the hundredth time. After a while, it made me wonder "What is it about this movie I like so much?" Didn't take long to answer: I identified with the characters. No, not McLovin (though that dude is hilarious), and not Seth. The Michael Cera character (Evan) is a decent representation of me in high school: good student, too nice a guy to have real fun, scared of girls, painfully insecure, and waiting to get to college to break out.

I was a late bloomer. Not until my late 20's did really come into my own becoming comfortable with who I am, confident in my abilities, just felt ok with being me, and honestly, no longer give a crap what people think of me. Freeing, right? It's very rare that I'm intimidated by speaking with anyone or feel there is something I can't do or learn.

I started thinking about this lately because recently through Facebook I've connected with a lot of people from high school with whom I haven't spoken since graduation, or rather, they've connected with me. Most of them are the "hot girls" from high school who wouldn't be seen talking with me back in the day (or at least that's how I felt about it). Instead of me painfully admiring from afar like Evan in Superbad though, now they are all contacting me. What the hell was I so scared of back in the day?

It's been nice I must say and kind of flattering having all the "popular girls" chasing me now. Just like me, half of them are single parents now looking for that second partner. A lot of them still look great too. Lots of flirty emails have been flying back and forth and there have been some phone calls, but nothing even close to serious, plus, I'm still with Hot Girl and that is going really well at the moment. Just having fun.

Funny thing about high school is that at the time, everything we're going through seems SO serious. If only we knew then what we know now.

Is there a movie character that represents you in high school?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Searching for Whitopia

There's a strange heading, right? A good friend of mine, Richard Benjamin, is a first time author and recently published the book Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America. When he told me about how he was going to research the book by living in some of the more white separatist areas of the country for months at time (Rich is a diminutive black man, picture thin, horn rimmed glasses, bowtie), I thought he was out of his mind. He may still be, but the result is this very interesting and well thought out book. Below is a review of the book by the Progressive Book Club. Take a look and buy it. You won't be disappointed.

An exploration of the social and political implications of the growing phenomenon of “Whitopias”—small towns and exurbs without diversity.

By 2042, white Americans will no longer be the majority. As immigrant populations—largely people of color—increase in cities and suburbs, more and more whites are moving to small towns and exurban areas that are predominately, even extremely, white. Journalist Rich Benjamin calls these enclaves “Whitopias.”

For two years, Benjamin, who is black, traveled through the heart of white America, to some of the fastest-growing and whitest locales in the nation. These communities, he writes, “cannily preserve a white-bread world, a throwback to an imagined past with ‘authentic’ 1950s values and the nifty suburban amenities available today.”

Benjamin’s journey to unlock the mysteries of Whitopias took him from a three-day white separatist retreat with links to Aryan Nations in North Idaho to the inner sanctum of George W. Bush’s White House—and many points in between. And to learn what makes Whitopias tick, and why and how they are growing, Benjamin lived in three of these communities (in Georgia, Idaho, and Utah) for several months apiece.

Praise for Searching for Whitopia

“Benjamin goes where no (sane) black man has gone before—into the palest enclaves, like Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to those places where white Americans have fled to escape the challenges of diversity.”—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“A courageous book that holds a mirror up to our country—and the reflection is one we can no longer afford to ignore.”—David Sirota, author of The Uprising and Hostile Takeover
“An essential tool in questioning, appreciating, and better understanding these most historic times.”—Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory

“An account of a black man’s journey through the whitest communities of America is bound to be thought-provoking, especially when the voyager is as observant and articulate as Rich Benjamin. A very entertaining read with a message worth pondering.” —Robert D. Putnam, Harvard professor of public policy and author of Bowling Alone

“Benjamin examines the history, politics, economics, and culture of race and class as seen in the growth of these ‘whitopias,’ racially and therefore socioeconomically exclusive communities from the exurb St. George, Utah, to the inner-city enclave of Carnegie Hill in Manhattan. . . . This is a thoroughly engaging and eye-opening look at an urgent social issue.”—Booklist

Friday, January 15, 2010

Alternative Parenting

Chocolate or Vanilla? If only all of life's decisions where that easy. Upside only! I'll take a lifetime of that please. :) Here, I'm talking about how to teach Miss M to make decisions though. If ice cream was our only decision, we'd have one happy girl.

Lately, Miss M has become the dream child (I'm cursing myself, I know). She's always been affectionate and sweet, but recently she's become totally compliant and agreeable with very few tantrums. For a three year old, that's a rarity.

Now, she wasn't bad prior to the last few months, but there were more tantrums and stand offs (see my post Fun or Discipline from just last month). I hadn't really thought about what brought this about I read a post by Danielle on Mid Life Mommy yesterday called Could I Have Created This Monster? (Hope you don't mind me linking you here Danielle). What in Miss M changed over the last few months to make her so much more easy to deal with? Surprisingly, besides ever improving language skills, nothing. What changed was my approach.

We had been getting into tests of wills for a while and I was getting frustrated. One day out of the blue, I realized that maybe she felt that I was being inflexible in how I approached things (not that I've EVER been accused of that before :) As single parents, we have the dilemma of how to allow our little ones to enjoy themselves while still taking care of things around the house (feeding, cleaning, shopping, etc.). The more behind I felt I was getting in accomplishing the needed tasks, the more frustrated I got and it showed. I have my way of doing things and while it works for me, I suddenly realized that maybe it didn't work for her.

When she was less than a year old, I bought and read the book Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. MacKenzie Ed.D. At the time, I wasn't having any problems with Miss M, but given her headstrong parents, I figured it was just a matter of time. I honestly don't remember much about the book except for one thing: strong willed children often get into conflict with their parents because they don't feel they are given a choice in deciding their fate. Hmmm...there's a concept. Miraculously, after a conflict with Miss M over something (I forget what), this idea popped into my head: What if I give her a choice of two things she can do, eat, wear, etc that are acceptable to me and accomplish what I need done so that she feels empowered and not backed into a corner? I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "Duh you bonehead! Who doesn't like to be empowered?" Well, in the heat of the moment, it never occured to me.

I started doing this and miraculously, Miss M and I have had very few stand offs since. I limit her choices to two so as not to make it too complicated but the results have been incredible! For example, the other morning we were getting ready for school. That's a tough one, right? I have to get to work on time, she needs to get there on time, we both need to get dressed, eat, straighten up from the morning's play, the clock is ticking and I need coffee BAD. A lot to do in an hour with a three year old, yes? She wasn't too motivated to eat which is only a recipe for disaster later because wow does she get grumpy if she's hungry. Instead of trying to coax her to eat (to no avail) like I had a few months prior, I gave her a choice: "M, right now Daddy needs you to either eat breakfast or to come over here and clean up your toys. Which one would you like to do?" Quick answer and a no brainer: "I eat!" So, while she ate, I was able to clean up the toys, eat my own breakfast and down a couple espressos. And like magic, we were 10 minutes early to school.

Greated, it doesn't work every time, but luckily for me, it does most times and I now feel like I have a little house partner. It really has done a lot for our relationship. So, tonight we'll watch one of two movies (her choice) and tomorrow we'll decide which of our friends we want to play with. We...what a cute concept. :)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Only for A Season

I'm a proud cousin. My cousin Amy is now a published author. Several years ago, Amy and her husband Chris had a beautiful baby girl, only to find out soon after that little Kelsea had a serious heart defect and wasn't expected to live. They struggled, scratched, clawed, and most importantly, prayed while they put their trust in God and the medical community to save their baby girl. This book is Amy's account of that stressful but beautiful time in her life.

Please take a look. We all share love for our little ones. This book will make you appreciate what you have so much more. Congratulations Amy.

Only for a Season - The Baby in Bed no 1 by Amy Grumbling

"After almost two years of infertility, Amy Grumbling hears the words, 'You're pregnant!'
Meticulously, she keeps every doctor's appointment, eats her fruits and vegetables, exercises, and basks in a full-term, blissful pregnancy.
A most unusual labor experience arises, and within hours Amy and her husband hear the words every couple dreads, 'Your daughter has a cardiac defect.'

What if this was your reality?

Join new author Amy Grumbling on an unexpected journey into the other world that exists where babies are born. Vivid memories reveal the complicated battles that ensue for baby Kelsea's life and set the stage for the power of God to be seen clearly in response to the prayers of countless friends and family. Clinging to faith, Amy must rely on her trust in God in spite of doctors' reports that Kelsea was moments away from death, thrusting her into a spiritual battle right after giving birth.

In this powerful, beautifully-written account of a new mother struggling with every parent's nightmare, readers will be witness to the presence of God as he brings this family through a frightening time that will last Only for a Season."
You can buy this book at Barnes and Noble, or at Tate Publishing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Death in the Family

Well, sort of. Ex's "father" died Saturday. I put that in quotations only because it wasn't her biological father, who is still alive. He was 73. He was actually was the father of her best friend from childhood (who was killed in a car accident at 14) who looked after her after she left home at 15 to get away from her abusive household. Luckily Ex was able to get there before he died to say good bye, although he was in a coma.

I feel for her, I really do. While my childhood wasn't perfect, it was relatively stable (with periods of intense chaos, but the Brady Bunch compared to Ex's family). I always knew my folks loved me, I was close to my relatives, and above all I knew I could trust my family to take care of me if I needed it, even if I didn't want it sometimes. She didn't have that luxury. This guy was the only person who she's really ever trusted in her life, who gave her at least a bit of confidence, and who always tried to see things from her perspective. Having lost his daughter, he in a sense adopted Ex "at arms length." He certainly was a steadying influence on her life, which she's so desparately needed. I can only hope that his influence continues to stay with her. Honestly I'm a bit worried but not much I can do.

She seems to be handling it pretty well on the outside at least. I'm trying my best to be supportive without getting too close and giving her leeway to just do what she needs to do. He lived in Europe, so Miss M will be with me for most of the next two weeks while Ex travels back and forth to take care of things.

I didn't know the guy all that well. We stayed with him and his wife on the few visits we made back to Ex's place of childhood. He was extremely helpful to me in collecting myself when I was fired from a job a few years ago. He was a very impressive guy: extremely successful business man (retired), a former member of his country's national ski team, an avid cyclist and mountain climber, and unfortunately a pretty hard drinker. Tough on the outside but underneath a man with a good heart. His wife (second wife) felt he never got over the loss of his daughter. Who would, right? I hope he's found peace with her. Peter, rest well...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Alvin and the Chipmunks - The Squeakquel

Happy to say, this movie rocked! I took the afternoon off Friday to spend with Miss M. Work has been slow so I figured who better to spend the day with than my best girl. I picked her up from daycare and off we went to the theater. All week long she'd been saying to her friends, her Mommy, and her teachers "Go BIG MOVIE!!!" She was beside herself with excitement.

I had decided that an afternoon matinee was the way to go so as to avoid the crowds. If any of you has ever tried to go to a movie in NYC you get why. People line up an hour prior for ALL movies just to claim their seats. Rare is the time when not every seat in the theater is filled. So, per Daddy's good planning, when we got to the theater it was practically empty.

We got a HUGE tub of popcorn and a large seltzer to share (I know this sounds strange but my girl LOVES bubble water. It's practically all she drinks). We found our seats like I like them (half way down, on the aisle). There was no one in our row. I piled the coats up on her chair so she would be higher up and then took the aisle seat for myself.

Now, I don't know how it is in middle America, but the first 30 minutes in NYC are reserved for commercials and previews. Seriously??? Not even good commercial and they repeated three times!!! And then the endless stream of previews for movies that scared the CRAP out of my little girls. She started getting weepy so I put her on my lap. Once the movie started though, she had a ball! She picked at popcorn the whole time, stayed at my lap, and talked to me through the whole thing.

I was SO glad to have a good movie experience after the Princess and the Frog. Alvin wasn't complex by any stretch and is a mix of animation with real life characters, but it has NO scary parts, stays focused on the chipmunks almost the whole time, and has pretty fun songs for the little ones to dance to.

Two big thumbs up. Take that Disney!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How Much Do I Need to Trust My Ex?

Trust is a huge issue for all of us. Our ability (or lack thereof) to trust that our needs will be taken care of is something that is formed at an early age. How well we felt our parents or caregivers provided for us in those years probably has a lot to do with how needy we are in relationships in adulthood. Among many definitions that I've read over the last couple days, one that struck me is the most"the obligation or responsibility imposed on a person in whom confidence or authority is placed."

For those of us who share custody, there needs to be a certain amount of trust in the other parent. Unless we can believe that our co-parent has our child's physical and emotional well being at heart, we're going to be unsettled most of the time. Lack of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of course is a must. Feeding, clothing, proper discipline, and sharing of love as well. All of these I believe my Ex provides for my daughter. The responsibility of a single parent has been imposed on her. The State of NY, as well as I, have to have confidence that she will do her best to care for our daughter. But what about the rest of it?

I've mentioned here before that I believe my Ex is a pathological liar, and a very good one at that. It took me a while to see it, but her lack of deep long lasting relationships on any level should have been my first clue. Now, besides her infidelity, there are and have been so many contradictions to stories she tells, exaggerations of situations, and flat out misinterpretations of the truth that I lose sleep many nights wondering just what is really going on. From how much time Miss M spends with babysitters, to Ex's real financial situation, to Ex filing a false child abuse claim soon after our separation, to her infidelity and continued relationship with Married Guy (and my daugther's exposure to this), I'm so upside down most times that I wonder is it better for me to have no contact with her besides on drop offs. It stresses me out to no end.

I bring this up because the other day I had a separate conversation with the Child Therapist we see together because there were clear lies that were going on during our therapy sessions. Most had to do with Married Guy and his exposure to my daughter. Once I explained to Therapist that the story had changed multiple times and the one of Ex's closest friends had told me in confidence that the infidelity had occured, Therapist understood my lack of trust. Her suggestion was that we both "trust but verify" Ex's stories going forward and keep track of the stories that are told. Frustrating beyond belief.

Here's my question though: Does it really matter? The "war" part of our divorce seems to have passed. As long as we each go by the rules of our custody agreement, I pay support on time, and Miss M is well cared for, what's the problem? I already know that Ex is a Hot Mess. Shouldn't I just be able to leave it at that and move on with my life? Does whatever "story of the day" that Ex decides to tell to make herself look like the good guy and me the bad guy matter?

I suppose the High Road is the place to go with this, but I could use some help. What do you all think? Am I needlessly getting stressed over trivial things since I do know that Miss M is well cared for or should I try to get to the bottom of most situations so that I can to the best of my ability protect Miss M from Ex's emotional and moral instability ? It's a tough one. Let the feedback begin...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Favorite Moments of 2009???

Great picture, huh? Believe it nor not, I took this with a disposable camera right after a rainstorm in Glacier National Park in 2005. See the rainbow? It's one of my favorite non-Miss M pictures I've ever taken.

That was a great trip for me. I had just gotten fired from a job, the job I moved to NYC for. I had been hired in 2001 by a guy with whom I had been very close friends back in my "wild" days. He was/is a typical Wall Street guy: play hard, work hard, take credit for other people's success, blame failure on everyone else, treat your employees like crap. We started butting heads and eventually I lost the political war. He got fired a year later.

Funny thing is, at the time it seemed like the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Here I was, newly married, in a city I really didn't want to be in, in a new career with not much of a track record, and completely unsure that I could be successful in what I had chosen in my path in life. At the time, I had been so focused on my material life that my spiritual life had taken a beating. In short, something stressful happened and I wasn't spiritually fit for it.

I took the trip to Glacier by myself (Ex wasn't into that kind of stuff) in order to clear my head and try to remember what's really important in life. Right before I left, I was offered the job I have now. The trip was really settling for me and the new job turned out to be the best one I've ever had. Who knew right? What I thought was the worst thing that could ever happen to me turned out to be one of the best in hindsight. All of this is before Miss M was born of course.

I'm thinking about this because at dinner on New Year's Eve, a friend was polling each of us as to what was the best moment of 2009. My buddy Pete had a similar story to what I described above. He was blown out at Lehman, landed at Barclay's, and in a few months, got blown out again. He landed not just on his feet but in a great job and in the process, realized that he had a tremendous support network which he had previously taken for granted. Great story, right?

Then it was my turn. 2009 was a incredibly tough year. I thought for moment and then decided to pass. Disappointing. 2009 was the first full year since my separation. Divorce, financial problems as a result, job insecurity, only seeing my little one half the time, developing and then losing my relationship with Hot Girl (only to regain it later in the year)...I felt like there were no stand out great positive moments during the year. In a sense, it seemed that 2009 was the year to "hold it together" and not make things worse. Honestly, I'm just glad it's over. Is that it???!!!!

Maybe. When I think of it, the job loss of 2005 hit me worse than my divorce. I literally had a nervous breakdown and had to be medicated to hold back the anxiety. Scary, right? My divorce, while incredibly painful (and seemingly the gift that keeps on giving), was much sadder and more difficult, yet didn't cause the depression and anxiety I had in 2005. Why??? The only reason I can think of is that I am more spiritually fit. Since '05 I've began again to regularly (although not as often as I would like) meditate, pray, and discuss my feelings with my friends. I try to focus on being in the moment and ok with my life as it is, RIGHT NOW. Tough when things are going sideways, but when I focus on my spirit, the bad times don't seem as bad. It make me feel like I'm off the "treadmill" of material quests and more on the path I think my Higher Power would like me to be on. Things in the universe then seem manageable, even if they don't seem to be going the way I would like. Being grateful for what I have, not resentful for what I don't.

Maybe that's my best moment of 2009...being ready it all when things fell apart. HP and my friends got me through it relatively unscathed. It's not how I pictured my life, but all in it's pretty darn good.

Here's to a positive 2010!