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In Defense of Me

I had a little text exchange earlier today.

My sister sent me a picture and two videos of the kitten she is giving me in the fall.  I did not want a new cat as I have three and that is enough.  But my sister cleverly sent a picture first and then asked me if I would like to have a new kitten.  She would pay for all the shots, the spaying, and bring her to me from N. Carolina since they were coming up anyway.  It was a cute cat, and my sister always gets her way, and one of my cats is 19, so how long would I have to wait to be back down to three cats anyway.  So, I said yes.

Now my sister sends regular updates via text, which is considerate, I suppose.

Today I felt compelled to thank her for her efforts which are allowing me to see my kitten grow up even though she is hundreds of miles away.

Instead of responding with a “you’re welcome” she texted back with “You’re welcome to come down and see her and bring her back with you.”


Why would I want to drive myself all the way down to Asheville, NC to pick up a cat (that I probably shouldn’t have said yes to) when you’re coming up to New York anyway in September???  In fact, all of this was your idea to begin with.  In fact, about a hundred whyshouldI’s raced through my mind when she responded the way she did.

The safest answer I could come up with was, it wasn’t in the budget to make a big trip this year.

Her answer:  Budget?  It’s a couple of tanks of gas!  We have plenty of room for you.


This convo was exactly like nearly every exchange with my mother.  No matter what I say in answer to any question, large or small, my answer is up for grabs, correction, improvement.  How did these people get so far into my brain?  Why do I have to defend everything all the time????

It’s the boundaries again.  I never learned good boundaries.  Neither did they.  But they are okay with it and I am not.

I can not be okay with poor boundaries.  I will never get better if I don’t firm up the boundaries.

And why am I still thinking about it and turning it over and over in my mind an hour later?

I get so stuck sometimes.

I probably should have sucked it up weeks ago and turned down the kitten even though she is super cute.  But I didn’t and now I am entangled.

My answer that shut down the exchange: I would have to fly.  That’s a hell of a drive and I’m not up to it these days.

She had nothing but an “oh, okay” for that one.


Such small successes in this journey, but I’ll take it.



Filed under anxiety, boundaries, bullies, decision making, decisions, dysfunction, family, getting along, growth, history, honesty, journey, pressure, progress, self-care, self-respect, Uncategorized

Weeping Willow

One morning last week I let the cat in through the back door and then just leaned against the window panes for a bit and absent-mindedly stared at the autumn all around.

On the west side of our back yard is an old apple tree and the compost pile.  In the center is a little flower bed.  And to the east is a huge old willow tree.  Except on this day it was lying on its side with roots in the air and branches and limbs strewn over ours and our neighbors’ lawns.

I love our trees the same way I love our pets.  Seeing the tree destroyed like that made me want to find a way to set it back up and let it somehow live for a few more years.  Magical thinking.

Later on I went outside and was able to look inside the termite damaged trunk.  There was a cool spray of dust from the roots slowly falling around me while I was in there.  Then I walked around checking out the full  length of our old willow and found dozens of bees freaking out near the ground under some limbs.  I guess their lives got mightily disrupted because of this.

It must have fallen during the night.  Neither my husband nor I heard a thing.  It was a complete surprise.

We’ve lived here for twenty-three years, so there are some memories attached to this willow.  We had a tire swing in it for awhile.  Our cats had chased squirrels up and down it over the years.  Lots of birds nested there, naturally.  One time, my husband set part of it on fire!  By accident, of course. And another time it lost about half its limbs due to a freak October ice storm.  That tree just might have had a more interesting life than I have had so far.

My husband and his friend made quick work of it with their chainsaws the other day and I have checked out the new piles of future bonfire wood a couple times.  It is kind of satisfying to see the orderliness of it.  Plus, we both thought this clean-up would take months (having had experience with only cheap, crappy chainsaws in the past).  Instead it took only a few hours with a couple of new, deluxe chainsaws.

Since the carving up, I haven’t been out there at all.  I’ve been busy and other things have been on my mind.  When I do see the tree from a window every so often, it still surprises me but not with the same twist in my gut as on the first day.

This is the kind of thing my life is about now.  And for the time being, or maybe forever, I prefer it to the tedious grind of being out there in the world of work, side by side with mostly strangers, and letting the external pressures of every single thing in the universe take over my poor brain.


Filed under anxiety, depression, emotional health, family, grief, growth, healing, love, pressure, self-care, social phobia, Uncategorized, work

Share Your World Questions

I love quizzes and questionnaires and usually want to answer them when they come along. I have been this way for as long as I can remember–probably because it is a way to quiet my mind.

Sometimes it is very hard to make things quiet in there. This morning, for example, I woke up with Brad Pitt’s “Oh Yellow Wo” song in my head and it is STILL banging around in there…. hopefully this quiz will shut it off!

Alright, it’s time to begin….

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If I didn’t know any better, I would think I was about 27. That’s less than ten years out of high school and I have noticed that is when people (who have their act together) start to have kids and houses and decent-paying jobs. And it is only just recently that I have felt really ready for any of those things. Of course, I actually did those things a long, long time ago. The kids are long since grown up and moved away, the job went poof a couple years ago, and I’m rather sick of the house and am ready to have a house that feels more like me. This house has been our home for over twenty years but it never quite matched my way of moving and doing things. It was always just a tad off-center. Too many doorways and windows for arranging our furniture around, cupboards too high for such a short girl, not enough closets… just an ever-so-slight awkwardness to the place.

Are you left or right handed?

Most of the time I am left-handed. I have always used scissors with my right hand. Once I began to work, I had to make decisions about handedness. Work stations are always set up for right-handers. Do I make a big stink about it and get everything rearranged for me? No, I never do that. And usually it was impossible anyway. Cash registers are shared and have furniture that is nailed down in place. Computers are often shared and the mouse is always set up on the right side. Everybody else is right-handed. My last workplace was unusual in that several left-handers worked there. Your work station was your own and could actually be adjusted for “handedness” to a certain extent. If I wanted to, I could have done everything left-handed even to the point of being inconsiderate of the next person who came along. But, I just didn’t want to. It was actually easy for me to learn to do things right-handed and that is because I rock!

If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to?

I’ve always been partial to the name Rachel.

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

Fortunately, people rarely come over. However, since I try to keep the place in decent order every day, I don’t have a go-to hiding place for spur of the moment clearing out. This is bothersome to our hoarder-type visitors who would feel better if we were as messy as they are. But we would never pass a white glove test, either, so the neatniks will generally be critical of our house and wish they could clean it up a bit. People make my brain tired. It would be nice not to know what some people wish we would do.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week was busy and I thought I might need several days of down time and extra sleep in which to decompress. But I did pretty good and took it in stride for the most part. So, that was very cool.

This week is extra quiet and that is very cool as well. I feel good which feels weird. But it’s a good weird.

Oh yellow yellow yellow wo, oh yel-low wo….. No, it’s not really stuck anymore. I just like to end each blog a little bit like the way it began.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, questionnaire, quiz, stress