By: Angel | Discussion (2)

This is a picture of Matt when we first started dating.
He looks so young. He’s only 27 years old in this picture.
December 2000

I’m reading Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr right now. And I’m having a such strong emotional response. I’m only on page seven, and Kris Carr is describing her back story, and I’m thinking, “That’s me! And that’s me! All of this is me!” I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer, but this part is all me:

Because my diet had been based on what to eat to stay slim for the cameras, I had no idea how to be healthy. I’d spend endless energy weighing my food and counting calories and fat grams. Meals were planned around convenience, auditions, and cocktail hour. My mantra: Unwrap, nuke, GO! Vegetables were far too elegant and way too time consuming to buy and make at home. Fake foods encased in plastic or cardboard were time-effective and cheap. The multisyllabic poisons on the label didn’t scare me. I figured, “If it was dangerous they would never sell it to me. Doesn’t the FDA ban the bad stuff?” Besides, all I cared about was the promise on the package. “Look great and lose weight while still enjoying this sensible cake.” I could eat this crap and my ass would be teeny-weeny. Hallelujah!

The early signs and symptoms were obvious, but I couldn’t see them for what they were: a toxic lifestyle and environment that was causing physical and emotional stress. I had a bunch of chronic health problems, including zits, colds, chest infections, allergies, depression (Prozac and wine helped that), bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, acid reflux, yeast infections, and fatigue–all distress signals from an imbalanced body. Yet rather than dealing with the real issues of the tissue, I’d often compound the problem by tossing drugs down my gullet. Over time, the symptoms worsened until they became unbearable.

Next step: Whole Foods, my new pharmacy. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I would race around the store frantically filling shopping carts with books, videos, supplements, powders, potions, and every piece of organic produce I could get my hands on. Kale? Okay! It was dark green and leafy, so it must be good for me. Yet in the back of my mind I wondered what the heck I’d do with this scary-looking weed.

I almost cried reading this passage. My health and my personal environment are so out of control. I’m not centered. I’m not grounded. I’m not whole. And I’m certainly not happy. I’m stressed and sad and drowning.

And I feel so old. I’m 42. I feel like I’ve squandered half of my life on bad health, stress and sadness. But that’s not actually true. I had “Teflon youth” (to use Kris Carr’s words) to protect me when I was younger from our society’s poisonous foods plus I was into sports. I was very healthy through my twenties. But in my thirties, I lost the protection of youth and I had children and became a stay-at-home mom. People don’t realize how very difficult the SAHM gig is. It’s isolating, stressful, lonely and your dreams and your ego get put away in a box under the bed as the children take center stage. You become a shadow in so many ways. And this has been my world for the last six years. The first year was amazing because I had just become a mom and I was so excited and happy, so let’s not count that one. So for the past five years, I’ve been unhappy and unhealthy.

And my family and friends who love me and want to help me have wonderful suggestions of getting back out into the world and reconnecting, perhaps taking a college course or getting involved in club that revolves around one of my hobbies. And those are great ideas. But I think the very foundation of my self has cracked, and that has to be fixed. I live in a very cluttered house, and I’m very very unhealthy. If I wasn’t so terribly unhealthy, I don’t think I would have had such a strong reaction to Kris Carr’s words.

Sadness always seems to eventually lead to realization and then to action. So even though sadness can hurt, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

By: Angel | Discussion (2)

This is how Austin chic we used to be:
Matt and I took our niece, nephew, and younger cousins to see the
midnight showing of Red vs Blue at the downtown Alamo Drafthouse,
and the creators of Red vs Blue were there as well for a Q&A afterwards.
Given that they were all teenagers, they enjoyed the cuss words in a
wonderfully new and innocent way. As adults, cuss words become
saturated and worn — they are no longer cool as we realize that they
actually impede communication. But it was fun listening to the kids play
with them and enjoy the fun and “cool factor” of them. But we did tell them
they had to clean up their language (they especially loved “f*cktard”),
or their parents would not allow them to come out with us again.

This is a photo of the teenagers with the creators of Red vs Blue
outside the Alamo Drafthouse around 2am on 22 July 2004.

(Now, we live in the suburbs and have only vague memories and old photos
of when we used to be hip. Maybe one day, after I manage to lose
the middle-age weight and buy clothes that don’t accentuate my matronly
role, I’ll be hip again… maybe…)

I haven’t written in a very long time — a very long time — and I feel so rusty. I imagine it’s similar to a musician who hasn’t played her instrument in over a year. My craftsmanship is weak: my timing is off and I’m out of tune. These three sentences took five minutes to write since I had to work and rework the words and the cadence.

With practice, art and ideas flow. With neglect and disuse, the mind becomes fuzzy and unfocused. Ideas and art are no longer spontaneous. And that spontaneity, that inspiration has an almost magical or divine sensation to it. When you let your talent atrophy, though you still have inspiration, it’s not nearly as powerful. It’s like you’re not resonating with the universe anymore. You have to plug yourself back in.

I know that some folks don’t have the same spiritual views as me, and I totally understand and respect that. Of course, this blog is from my point of view, and writing, for me right now, feels very discordant, a cacophony in my head with no focus or theme. Writing is not easy right now. The ideas and words, the art of writing that I enjoy so much is all scattered around in my head. And because I have the spiritual views that I do, I attribute this feeling of discordance not only to disuse and letting my skills get rusty, but also to a muffled connection with the universe. I’ve been unplugged for a year.

But I know that not all folks feel that way. I understand that we all have a personal place inside of us from which we create. And we all have a different way of creating. This is just how I do it. I realize that others’ experiences may be very different from mine.

It will take time to get back into the flow of writing. But I’m really looking forward to it. As much as I enjoyed Warcraft and quit with great reluctance and, at first, slight bitterness, I’m glad things worked out the way they did. I’m excited and eager to be back with my first and true love: writing.

By: Angel | Discussion (4)

A very very very old photo from a photo booth.
That’s me and Ben in the bottom photo.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a year and a half.

It’s been a lot of fun.

It has also been extremely time-consuming.

I tried to work my hobbies in around Warcraft, but, given that I haven’t updated this blog in a year, I can say with confidence that I failed. The hobbies were shelved while I played a very fun game.

Matt quit Warcraft about three weeks ago because there is lot of exciting things going on in real life for him and our family right now. I continued to play without him, but he would spend his evening watching Bones in the living room, while I was logged into Warcraft all night in the computer room. I waited for him to come join me again in the virtual world, but he never did. So, after being apart for three weeks, I decided to join him since he wasn’t joining me.

So I’m back in the real world. It was time. My hobbies had been shelved long enough, and Matt and I both got to play the end game content of Wrath which was very cool. Our little toons both got the “Kingslayer” title right before the Shattering (the night before, actually). We didn’t get to play the end game content of EverQuest, which we were both a little sad about, so it was nice to play some of the end game content of this MMO.

Do I miss Warcraft? Absolutely. But I missed my hobbies while I played Warcraft. Unfortunately, one must give way to the other. Maybe I’ll play Warcraft again in the future, but, for now, I’m back in the real world. And, as much as I miss playing my holy priest, it’s nice to be back.

Our camera is messed up right now, so I can’t post pictures of the kids (as I’m not taking any), so, for a little while, old archived photos will be posted with the entries.

By: Angel | Discussion (0)

I got a new webcam. After Matt installed it,
the children and I played with it for about 15 min,
but then I got tired of playing around and left.
The children, however, continued to play with the
new webcam for another 45 min. This is a photo
that the children took while goofing off with the webcam.
17 January 2010

Shelrie and I made our first podcast. I don’t know how much fun it is to listen to, but it was a lot of fun to make. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our Five Favorite Movies Right Now

By: Angel | Discussion (1)

Lily posing for the camera.
08 January 2010

I don’t know if many of you read Benign Chaos, but, in case you do, I feel like I should give an explanation for recent posts over there… you know, the whole “Year of Joy” thing.

You see, I am desperately lonely. I eat every meal alone. I go throughout my day doing my chores all alone. I see Matt for an hour or an hour and a half every night before I go to bed. My days are filled with monotonous, repetitive housework; the children require lots of attention; and I do all of this completely alone, day after day.

So I’m trying to change the pattern. The one I have now is not working. My depression seeps through the house, filling it with a gray, sad fog.

And thus, the Year of Joy. Things have got to change. Myself and my family cannot keep living like this. So, anyways, that’s what all those posts are about.

By: Angel | Discussion (0)

Lily and Damian being silly while I was taking pictures.
08 January 2010

So I’m trying to keep two blogs at once. With this one, I’m trying to write about family and friends, and with Benign Chaos, I’m trying to write about my journey through life. But the two are inseparable, aren’t they? One’s journey through life is all about family and friends. People and connections are at the very heart of being alive.

I probably would just combine the two blogs back into one except that I’m doing Benign Chaos with Shelrie, and she is really keen on podcasting. I’m excited and intimidated by the idea. I tried podcasting once already and found it very hard to act natural. But, the thing with Shelrie is: almost any activity you do with her turns out to be a fun adventure. So I’m jumping into my second podcasting attempt with a trusted and delightful friend.

I’m excited about the New Year; 2010 seems very very hopeful to me.

And a big hug and thank you to my extended family in England. We all had a wonderful Christmas. รขโ„ขยฅ

By: Angel | Discussion (0)

Lily and our new kitty, Diamond
16 November 2009

It’s been said many times before, but it is such an important and yet easily shrouded truth that I feel I really must state it again:

It’s okay to have boundaries with your children. Complete sacrifice is neither required nor healthy for you, your children or your family.

It’s okay to have boundaries with your children.

Love from a mom who is also trying to live this statement. ๐Ÿ™‚

By: Angel | Discussion (2)

I don’t dress Lily. I quit dressing Lily before she turned
two-years-old because the arguments weren’t worth it.
And I have to say, Lily, at the age of four, has a better
sense of style than I do at 41-years-old. This is the outfit
that she put together today.
27 September 2009

I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. I’ve always been an introvert, although there have been times in my life that it was less acute than others. However, as I spend day after day in the house with no company except two dogs and two preschoolers, I am coming dangerously close to a certain line that all introverts must stay wary of: I’m about two steps away from being a shut-in.

I have become more and more disconnected as the lonely days pass by. I play Warcraft or watch TV to bide the time, and with each passing day, I am just a little more disconnected from human interaction and the natural world.

Not a good place to be. Now I must find a way out of the dark cave I have wandered in. I’m sure I’ll find the exit, but it will take some probing. Becoming reconnected, after allowing almost all connections to lapse, takes time.

By: Angel | Discussion (0)

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am amazingly lucky in my in-laws. I married into an awesome family. This includes a really nice, very thoughtful father-in-law who is always planning and executing events for the family.

And to this very nice father-in-law I have lied about four times over the summer. He has continually asked for pictures of the children, and my reply has repeatedly been, “I’ll post those tonight!” but then I would never deliver on my promise. So to Dad-in-law, first a public apology for not being reliable and then the promised photos… finally.

We visited my grandmother in Tennessee in May.
We tried to wrangle the great-grandkids together
for a photo with Great Grandma. I’ll let you decide
whether we were successful or not.
16 May 2009

This is me and my siblings
with the paternal side of our family.
16 May 2009

The next day, while we were still all together in Nashville,
was Matt’s birthday. All the nieces and nephews wished him
a happy birthday in their own special way.
17 May 2009

Before everyone went home from Nashville,
we took a picture of Nana and Granddad with all the grandkids.
17 May 2009

Damian enjoys watching his cousin Cody play videogames.
03 July 2009

Damian fell asleep on the couch.
27 July 2009

I’m sorry that there aren’t more pictures. Besides not blogging, I also have not been taking many pictures. The summer of 2009 was extremely oppressive in Texas, and I got depressed with the drought and the triple-digit heat, as I think many Texans did. But, with the arrival of autumn and cooler temperatures and rain, my mood is starting to lift. It’s nice not being stuck in recycled air.

By: Angel | Discussion (1)

Grandpa Damian snuggles baby Damian as he wakes up from his nap.
13 April 2009

So I started a blog site with Shelrie and Shelly. Why, you ask. Because, like so many things I choose to do, it’s fun!! ๐Ÿ™‚

So now my blogging time is split between this personal blog and the femme naturel blog I’m doing with my girlfriends. Here’s the link, if you’re curious: Benign Chaos.