Monday, April 27, 2009


Did I mention I've been taking a self-defense class? Tomorrow night is the last of a five week session. I am now a firm believer that every woman should take anger management and self-defense (probably in that order :) The class is at the karate studio where my girlfriend takes her young son. She and I and another friend have been attending it. It's been great fun hanging out with them every week! The class itself was really hard for me at first. My gf thinks we have body memories. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'd already worked through a lot of brain memories in therapy, so I wasn't prepared for my reaction to implied physical threat. Without a lot of detail, there's been some violence in my past and remants of it have carried over into my present in the form of intimidation. So a few posts back, i mentioned the boogey man in the corner, well he has a name and he knows our life, so he's got a good idea when Steve's out of town. I've known for years that I will one day die at his hands. It's just how it will be. A couple therapists have tried to talk me out of it, until they realized the truth in my knowledge. Some years ago, I did get fed up of living with this over my head and I told him I was sick of it, so if he planned to hurt me then come on and let's get it over with. Otherwise I was plain old tired of him threatening me and I wasn't going to take it any more. Well, that gave me some relief as I felt like I'd taken part of my power back, but when I started this class, I seem to have lost all that mental control. I've not slept well since the class started. Until last week.

Last week, husbands and friends came to class. Steve was working in another state, not that it mattered, as he'd already said he wanted no part of angry women kicking his gnards (I think he was mixing my classes!) :) Anyway, in my line was my gf who is small but tough as nails, a tiny woman about 4'10" and maybe 90lbs, me and a 19-yr-old gal who holds a black belt. At the front of our line was the Kung Fu Panda, 6'1" 280 lbs, mostly in the belly, if you know what I mean.

First we laid on our backs and he sat on our bellies. We were taught how to buck up to throw him off balance, elbow him in the groin 3x, toss him off us and kick him as we got away. (no wonder Steve wouldn't volunteer.) Anyway, the 19-yr-old was crying after her first try. The emotions get to you. I don't know her story, but I do know she hates her dad, so I put two and two together and gave her a big hug. Amazingly, I did fine. We went through the circuit four or five times each. Panda was getting a little sweaty, but he was determined to help us be safe in the future, so his fighting us was very realistic. Next they taught us how to get away if he had both our arms pinned as well. I was first in line. My mind was scrambling and I was trying to talk myself down, I lay still with my arms raised and as soon as he grabbed them, I lost it. I was sobbing and panicking and he immediately let go of my arms and let me up. My gf touched my shoulders and my cheek and helped me slow down. Panda took on the next gal, a little shaky himself. All too soon, it was my turn again. I laid down and raised my arms. This big man says, "I don't have a face." I asked him how he knew I saw a specific face. He said because I had looked him in the eyes before i got scared. He said, "I don't have a face, so you do whatever you need to do to get away from me." And I did! I got away. I bucked him off balance and I really got away. I made him swear to me he wasn't being easy on me and he wasn't. I got away.

When it was my turn again, the instructor came over and he took me aside to work with me himself. After Panda, he was a lightweight! It was much easier to throw him off balance. We stood up and he told me how proud he is of me for working through the internal chaos in these last weeks. He said he has seen me grow stronger and he's very pleased with me. Sometimes healing comes when we least expect it.

At the end of class, I thanked Panda profusely for the gift he gave me of working through my fright in a safe environment. I could tell I brought out the dad or the protector or whatever you call it in him, as he thanked me for being brave.

The instructor asked everyone how they felt. Every week the women say things like, "great!" or "empowered" and I never understood it, because I felt uncomfortable or even nervous. But I heard myself say aloud, "I feel good."

Through out the next day I cried or laughed at inappropriate times. It was an over-whelming rush of emotions anytime I slowed down enough to think. The boogey man will still come for me, but I will be ready. I will not die. I know now, for the first time in my life, when he comes, I will win.

going backwards?

i finished my first week at the plant nursery. It was super fun. You don't have to think to be a cashier, you just get to visit with folks and learn lots of new plant stuff. It was awesome. Well, except for the part of my upper back screaming at me for standing in place for five hours at a whack! This will not be nice, but now i know why some folks choose to stay in this kind of job for years. It's so dang easy. Sure, it's busy, especially when the sun comes out (which isn't all that frequent yet.) But busy isn't the same as having to think about what you're doing. Busy isn't the same as the emotional toil of helping someone plan a funeral. Busy isn't the same as crying your guts out when you get home or of not being able to eat certain textures of food because of something you saw at work. Busy doesn't remind you of funeral home smell everytime you go into the bulk food section at the grocery store. I DON'T KNOW WHY. It just smells the same. Busy is fun. Busy makes me tired at night. And that's definitely a good thing.

Busy does make it a little hard to get my homework done though. Late nights are becoming my friend. Still, that's okay. Right now i'd rather the busywork than the wrapping my head around somebody else's grief day in and day out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2nd offer of the day

ok, so i just got off the phone with a guy from the parks and recreation department. I'd done a phone interview with them yesterday, and he offered me a job as a fee collector at parks. It's a little weird that they don't even see what a person looks like before hiring them for a job around children and families. Oh well, I'll sit in a little box and take folk's money. No skills needed. Can you see a pattern in the types of part time jobs I applied for? This one pays even less than the nursery, BUT I could be alone! No coworker to make mad, no boss to disobey, a beautiful park to look at, absolute perfection in a part-time-just-want-to-pay-for-my-own-education-so-i-don't-get-into-a-weird-parent-child-role-with-my-husband-Steve kind of job. (Sorry, Mr. Todd, I'm trying so hard not to plagiarize, but it's pretty dang hard!) So, I go fill out paperwork and have an orientation with them on Tuesday. We'll see what happens and which job I keep. Maybe both? nah. That'd be too much like work...

what i've learned... ha!

So, Monday I have an orientation for my new part time job. I'm taking 18 credits of classes, so I'd like to only work maybe 20-25 hours a week, and I'd like it to be only mon-friday. And I'd like to get paid the equivalent of working full time at a nice paying job. But none of that is in the cards! Well, the 20-25 hours is but I think that's about it. I'm going to work in a nursery. Plants not babies. They probably don't call it nursery, maybe gardening center? It's its own business, not like a section of Lowe's or something. I love gardening, although truthfully, i'm not great at remembering to water (drip sprinkler systems rule!) I think it'll be a lot of fun, so long as I don't sneeze like crazy. What a journey in these past few years. In some ways, i feel like a total failure. Let's see, good career-type job, great benefits, great coworkers. Then I stayed at home for awhile and remodeled bathrooms. Great fun! Then I got a job where i could see the inside of people's heads and chests. Yumm-O! Not. My goodness, that very first autopsy repair is still branded inside my brain. It may not ever go away. I've not eaten a chicken nugget since. Then I got a job where i didn't have to look inside folks too much, whew! Just got to work with their grieving (or not so much) families. That was awesome and hard and rewarding and frustrating. Then I got to be invited not to come back. Geez, cremate one person when you're told not to and no one ever let's you forget it. It's a long story, but the short version is that morally, ethically and legally I did what I judged was right for the family, not that i did the actual cremation, there are checks and balances, and everything checked correctly so the cremation was done by the appropriate personnel. But my immediate supervisor asked me to hold off and get one more signature (again, not required legally). I chose to act superior and judge that i knew better than he did, plus I figured he was just embarrassed that I'd overheard a coworker telling him what an idiot he is, so I presented my paperwork to the crematory anyway, and the cremation took place. I know all this probably doesn't make a lot of sense and i'm not explaining well and i don't even know why i'm writing it at all. Maybe i'm still feeling smug and somewhat superior and still rationalizing my actions, when the point is I did not follow directions. In the end, it didn't matter if i was "right" because i lost. And it threw me into a tailspin like i'd not experienced before. so that's been a pretty black part of life.

But now, in some ways I feel like a new soul. (I've run twice this week, woo-hoo!) I'm learning and learning and learning. I now know how to tile a shower and a tub surround and a floor; I know how to texture walls and ceilings (well, in my own opinion I know how and it's my house, so that's all that matters!); I know how to sew curtains (but I can not make a Roman shade to save my life); I know how to make up and style a dead person; I know how to pull off one heck of a funeral service, with tears and laughter; I look super hot driving a hearse (ok, maybe not, but it sure is one of the best parts of the job, well, when it's empty not full); I know how to communicate in a small group (don't ask my classmates, just look at my "A" grade); I'm leading an anger management class, so obviously I know a little something about anger :), ok that one doesn't really count as I haven't just learned it in the last few years; and, finally, I know what Aristotle thinks about happiness. Hmm... semi-conductors, bathroom tiler, office manager, funeral director, student, nursery worker... some would say I'm going backwards, and financially they'd be right, but maybe, just maybe, all of this doesn't make me the failure I was beginning to think i'd become.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guess who I ran into today?

This makes me laugh hysterically. I may be over the edge. I've sent it out in email for the last couple years. My friends are probably sick of it, but I can't help how much it makes me laugh.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

birds and spring

I need to borrow a bb gun. The crows are making me a little crazy. There are two kinds of birds who I love to hear, they have great songs. But they're usually drowned out by the gang of crows who've claimed my back yard as their turf. I read that I only need to kill one of them and then hang it in a tree. The rest of the crows will get the message and go away. I've not yet succeeded. But then I've only tried throwing pinecones and I think the success rate of killing crows 40 feet up in a tree with a pinecone is fairly low. I also read you should beat an empty cereal box with a wooden spoon. The crows will be so annoyed, they'll fly away. This is so not true! My family and neighbors, however, get pretty dang hostile. Well, i've not actually used a cereal box, but I do keep a pair of flip-flops (thong sandals) by the backdoor. They make an excellent echo and it did work at first, but then I realized Steve gets pretty testy when I'm smacking them together at 6 in the morning. (I want to say, "my husband Steve" because i constantly say to myself, "my wife Kara", but I'll keep from doing it. See , i don't know how to make cool links...) Anyway, I don't know why I get so mad at those birds, but I sure wish I could kill just one...

Friday, April 03, 2009

the boogey man

Today I am exhausted. The last two nights have left me tossing and turning. I hear every creak and groan of the house. Even though each noise is easily identifiable, it doesn't matter. My heart pounds, I can literally hear it in my ears. I am certain it's the boogey man finally coming to collect his due. He walks down the hall. He peers through my bedroom door. His is silhouetted by the light from my laptop in the other room. Last night, I remembered to close my laptop, so i couldn't see him standing there. It didn't matter, I still saw his shadow. I still heard his footsteps. I hear them in the refrigerator. I hear him in the wind. I hear him in the settling of old attic boards. I feel his breath as he leans over my bed. I feel his touch in the stirring of my hair as the overhead fan turns gently. I brush him away as though swatting at flys. Sleep visits me briefly before being ripped away by the drumming in my ears. Adrenaline flows through me like I've just run a marathon. All my senses are alive and at peak perception. The boogey man waits. He laughs quietly from the corner of my room. My bladder is full, the rain pours outside my window, taunting me, knowing I won't cross the floor to the bathroom. He will come out from the corner if I dare to walk past him. One o'clock, two o'clock, oh please let me fall asleep before the witching hour. You can wake me back up when it's past. Irrational thoughts. Irrational beating of my heart. Will he never allow me rest?