Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's only a dog

“By ourselves we can enjoy life, but to really appreciate 
life we must find companionship”

I grew up surrounded with animals. My father owned what he calls a farm, 3 cows, 6 chickens, a few bunnies, as a teacher he didn't have time for more. Still it was enough for us to learn about life, play with a lot of kittens, try to make friends with chicks (I did have a pet hen for a while, followed me around like a dog!). We learned to treat animals right, and to be responsible for those put in our care. I also grew up in a community that lives off nature's bounty. Fishing is the main industry and hunting (duck and seal) is part of the local order of things. Because of the fragility of the resources, it has always been part of the general discourse how important it is to protect the resources, and to respect nature. We also learned very young to distrust the fanatics who use misinformation and propaganda to bully small populations who do not have the same PR abilities.. but I'm straying here!

I had dogs most of my life, and after a bad experience with an aggressive dog which I failed at retraining, but loved very dearly, I promised myself I would never grow close to a dog again. To me, it was just not worth the heartbreak. I had cats, 2 of them, who followed me from East Canada to California and made my days, hum, interesting. You know what though? As much as I love cats, they are not the same as a dog. They can be aloof, ignore you when you need them the most. In the city, they are also confined to the apartment.

About 7 years ago, one of my cat passed away and I started roaming around the shelters to see if I could give a home to a new little kitty. The only problem was, I kept ending up in the dog kennels. I realized I really missed having a dog. I knew it was going to be hard to convince my husband, so I started looking for the "perfect dog". It took months! Finally, after looking up all the Shelters in Marin and Sonoma County, I found her at the Marine Human Society in Novato. Having sold pets before, I knew how to "make the sale" to my husband. "Just come look at her, that's all I'm asking". He did, in a kennel full of hyper barking dogs, "Greta" was sitting quietly looking through the bars with a little "please take me out of here" look. The following morning my husband called the shelter to ask them to hold her for him until the end of his workday.  Greta became Grace (because I thought she looked like Grace Kelly all dignified and sweet), and she became part of our family.

I spent hours training Grace. She was a slow learner, mainly because she has the attention span of a goldfish, but as I spent time with her, I discovered she had the sweetest temperament I'd ever seen in a dog. Grace is a lover, she is also very careful. One time, in the early days, I had spread paperwork all over the floor to organize it when my husband walked in with her. "Great!" I though, there goes my paperwork. Grace walked through the living room being very careful not to step on any of my stuff on the floor. That's just how she is, very sweet and respectful. Many times with animals and kids, she will sit back and patiently give them time to get used to her. I did not train those traits into her, she came with them!

Slowly, my "She's a dog, nothing more" attitude melted. Grace just has this uncanny way of growing on you, and I'm not just talking about how she takes all the space on the couch. She seems to be very good at reading a situation and adapting to it. When I'm feeling sad, or lonely, she's an expert cuddler. She has this calm way of just looking at you like she's looking straight into your soul and understand what's going on in there. Often better than I do. When I'm busy, she's happy with just sleeping with Leo, her best buddy ever. When my husband takes her to work, she behaves in such a way that everybody there seems to just love her. She's not only good at being quiet! Grace is the perfect adventure partner. She took my "lets take pictures in stairs" and all my "lets decorate the dog" attacks with patience if not enthusiasm. She's a great walking/running partner and is always more than happy to hit the beach.

She's goofy, she's funny, she can make you laugh or help you calm down. She has a way of just being there, patiently, not judging, not second guessing what you do or say. She never holds grudges, or blames you for having a moody day. No matter how impatient I am, she's always right there, ready for a cuddle, a minute of hyperactivity or a run.

She might "just be a dog" to some of you, but to me she's more than that. Grace is my buddy, the one I can turn to when everything goes wrong because I know she doesn't care about money, the future, about the mistakes I make or how righteous, or not, the decisions I'm making are.

All this to say that when I spend time with her, I can forget everything else because when I watch her run on the beach ears flapping in the wind, sniff every piece of seaweed she comes across, run to me for a quick cuddle before she runs off again, when I watch her do all those things and more all is right with the world.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So what if I'm not a Mom?

“No one else can ever make your choices for you. Your choices are yours alone. They are as much a part of you as every breath you will take, every moment of your life.”
~Dr. Shad Helmstetter

There I said it: I'm not, and will not be, a Mom. If that indeed make me less of a woman, then so be it. No I do not hate kids, I find whiny kids with no manners annoying. I love the sound of kids playing, I love to play with kids, I think I could be a good mother, and I think my husband would be a fantastic father. I have half convinced myself of the contrary because I know motherhood isn't in my future, so why torture myself?

You see, I married a man who has always been very clear from day one that kids were not part of his future. He doesn't want the stress and responsibilities that come with having kids. He even resisted to having a dog, for the same reason. He absolutely adores Grace, but he made it clear that once Grace is gone, another dog wasn't a priority. It's not like he surprised me on our wedding day with "Oh by the way we're not going to have kids". He's always been very clear and upfront about it and I decided when we first "got serious" that I could live with that.

Now in my late 30s, with the biological clock ticking loudly, I have my moments where I worry I might be passing on something big. I know I am, but I made the decision to accept it. I love my husband deeply, and would not dream of leaving him. I know what I was getting into from the get go, so it would be unfair of me to try and change his mind now. What's left? A friend of mind suggested "accidentally" getting pregnant on the idea that he would not walk if that happened. I know he wouldn't, but even the thought that it could be an option for anybody boggles the mind. It's so many kind of wrong, I can't even imagine doing something like that.

The thing is, I don't need to. Yeah I'm probably missing something, but it's my choice, and really I can live with it. It's everybody around me who seem to have a problem with it. I get very tired of the whole "You don't know what's you're missing" or "You're going to regret this one day", not to mention the little condescending looks and comments I get every time the subject of kids come up. I know in the mind of some people around me, I'm much less of a woman because I don't have kids. I sure loved the "You don't teach, you don't have kids, what good are you?"

I also get very tired of people explaining everything I do away with "Oh well, you don't have kids". As if that simple fact took all value out of every one of my achievements.

  • I lost weight: Oh well, you didn't have to deal with a post-pregnancy body.
  • I work out: You don't have kids in the way.
  • I like to experiment with cooking: Yeah, but you don't have to deal with picky kids.
  • I make lunchboxes: You wouldn't have time to do this if you had kids.
  • I see a show: You didn't have to find a baby sitter.
  • I blog: Without kids you have too much time on your hands.

Tell me, if kids are that much of a bother, why on earth are you trying so hard to convince me to have some? Truly I understand that there are things I will never experience. I will never have the joy of holding my newborn in my arms, to see the first smile, the first steps. I will never have the pride of my kid doing well at something. I will never have a "Thank you Mom" from a graduating son or daughter of mine. I am keenly aware of that, but not having kids also have advantages.

I talked about the joys I will miss, but what about the worries? I will never have a teenager wrap my car around a tree. I will never wake up at 3am to realize that my 14 years old hasn't made it home yet. I will never have the cops come to my door to explain that my kid did... I will never have to try to figure out a kid who doesn't understand himself/herself and keep them on the right track in the face of all the eye rolls, the "I hate you!" and the "Whatev!". I will never have to sit in front of a teacher to hear something like "Your kid is full of potential but is headed toward disaster". I will never have to explain to the love of my life that, yeah I know you worked hard to make the team, but we can't afford it just now. The list goes on, and on...

On a more selfish side of things, my apartment is mine. If I want to have sex on the kitchen counter at 2 in the afternoon, I can. I will not traumatize anyone for life by doing so. If I want to walk around naked, I can. All I have to do is close the blinds. If we want to sleep in, nobody is up at 5:30 wailing for breakfast (ok, the cats are, but they have learned to get lost and wait). If we want to go out, we crate the dog and go. It is illegal, immoral and just plain wrong to crate your kids.

On a practical standpoint, if we both lose our jobs, all we have to do is pack up and leave. We don't have to worry about schools, feeding kids, anything. It's just us we have to worry about, and we're both fully grown, educated and resourceful, thus we are both part of the solution rather than added baggage. Financial breakdown means the two of us have to start over, it doesn't mean that we just destroyed an offspring chance for the dreamed of future.

I do love kids, I do think I could have been a good mother and that my husband would have been a great father. We chose differently. It was our choice to make, and we are living with the pros and the cons of that decision. Yes, every time a friend has a baby and shares the pictures, joys, stories, I get a little sad, and I wonder for a moment if I made the right choice. When I play with my 3 years old nephew, or watch him play the guitar (that is freakin' hilarious!) on Skype, I wonder if a little crazy of my own would make my life richer.

Whatever I'm losing by not having kids, I'm gaining by having my husband in my life, by having time and freedom to do things that would be much harder to do if I had kids. I don't have the love of a little one, but I also don't have the worries, the responsibilities of someone's future other than my own.

Oh, and I think that being a woman is much more than popping out kids. At 37 years old I don't think I have to justify myself and yet somehow I am.

I'm not a Mom, that is true, but I'm all woman honey! So there!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I hate being angry

“Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very
things for which you are angry and grieved.”

I suck at being angry, I really do. It's not something I can, or want to, sustain because it eats me alive. I guess my problem really is with holding grudges. I can be angry and find a way to vent it (there's always the gym) but I hate to have things unresolved, lingering, without a way to solve them. That's when they start to poison my life and block me from moving forward. There's always that little thing, that doesn't seem like much, but that is just there, getting in my way every time I want to make a move.

I usually say I couldn't hold a grudge if I was paid to do it, and that's true. Those who know me well will just let me flare up, leave me alone and know that by the time we meet again, I'll have forgotten about it. My husband has raised this to an art form. Something will happen, and it's time for him to do the dishes, go to the store, take the dog out, or whatever it is that he can do to get away and give me time to forget that something made me angry.

There are very few events in my life which had me hold grudges for more than a few hours (which is REALLY long for me). Those are time when I wasn't so much angry, but hurt. Each times has been about people I really cared about and looked up to, who made it clear that I wasn't lovable enough, intelligent enough, or simply just not good enough. I think those have dug so deep because they came at times where I was feeling very unsure already and felt like the guillotine had just come down.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

There is no way you can ever be good enough for everybody. Often, people will look for somebody to blame for their own failures, sometimes people misunderstood or just don't understand where you are coming from. Sometimes you made a mistake and it got out of hand. No matter what the deal is, hanging on to grudges, anger and hurt only hurts you. There are two way out of this: let it go, or get away.

Mind you, both are valid, it just depends on what the situation is. There are things that are just not worth holding a grudge about. The idea of "don't sweat the small stuff" is a recipe for social and professional success (not to mention sanity!). You have to be able to learn what there is to be learned from a bad situation and then let it go. At worst, agree to disagree and make the best of a bad situation until an acceptable compromise can be met.

There are times though, when you either can't let it go, or when you know it's just an on going thing that will never end. If you know you can't right the wrongs, and that you can't live happily in a given situation, why bother? Looking at educations out here, this is why I have put my teaching career on hold, because I knew I would spend all of my time fighting the system, and the changes that are just not in the best interest of the students and the teachers alike. Facing the students, day after day, knowing that you don't have the tools, the resources to give them what they need is very depressing and exhausting. Trying to fight a losing battle is the best way to just run straight into a burn out.

No matter how passionate you are about something, you have to learn to let it go. You owe it to yourself, and to your loved ones, to know when to back away and look for another path. Either personally or professionally. There is nobody in this world that you can't live without. It might seem like it at a given moment, but when the situation is such that you can't live with it anymore, you will find that you can very well live without him or her.

No matter how paying or rewarding a job is, there is no job that you can't replace. It might be at a loss money-wise, it might mean turning your back on years of building up your place in a company, but you can always restart, reinvent yourself.

There is nothing, and nobody, who is worth your happiness, your self worth, and your peace of mind. There is nothing, and nobody, that is worth neglecting your loved one for.

There is nothing, and nobody, worth living in a constant state of anger, stress and hurt.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love is not for wusses

“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself -- to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.”
~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Today I was sitting close to two teenagers on the bus and they were discussing love, and boys. One girl was telling the other what made a guy a "good boyfriend" and what makes a guy a "bad boyfriend". I don't remember the details, but I just kept shaking my head and wondering "Was I ever that naive?"

Of course I was... I remember thinking that the man I was going to marry would be handsome, always in a good mood, he would be rich, and spend most of his time either doing something for me, or admiring me. Being around him would always be joyful and romantic HA! Over 20 years later, and with my feathers ruffled (or torn off) a few times, I have another vision of love and what it is supposed to be. Do I still believe in love? More than ever! I just have a more realistic view of the whole concept I think.

I can see a few eye rolls, and hear a few "Oh come on, you HAVE a fairy tale". See, I AM lucky, and I AM spoiled. My husband is fantastic, he's supportive and loving, he's on my side in anything that I chose to do, or not to do. I have a fabulous husband and I appreciate him. He's not perfect though, neither am I!

My husband is moody, he likes his space, and he can happily sit there, not saying anything for 3 hours. He's also the world's worst communicator. He once told me that putting make up on my face was a waste of time, "it won't change your face anyway". He later explained that he meant to say I was beautiful without the make up... huh huh.. whatever. He's also the most stubborn person I have ever EVER met. I do not back up easily, but I will back up eventually. He once told me that he had not said something wrong, it was me who had not heard it correctly…

I, on the other hand am the queen of mood swings. I can be laughing hysterically one minute, and totally discouraged the next. I get bored on average every 3-4 minutes. I love to talk a lot, I cannot stand to be on my own, and I feel a deep seated need to talk things out ad nauseum. I know it drives my husband crazy, but I just can’t help myself. I do not feel the need to be right at all cost, but I do need for things to make sense to me, and if they don’t I will keep at it until they do… Did I mention that I have an enormous amount of energy? I can keep going for days! Poor husband!

Here’s where I’m going with this: We are deeply in love with each others. I adore my husband, I know he’s the man of my life, and still some days he exasperate me to the point of insanity. I know it’s the same thing the other way around. There is no such thing as a perfect mate, and there is no such things as a perfect relationship.

I had to learn that sometimes he doesn’t feel like listening to my stories, and that’s ok. It’s not an insult, it’s not that he doesn’t care about me, it’s just that if he never puts his foot down, I will never run out of stories. Sometimes he just wants time for himself, to recharge his batteries, and to just do nothing. I had to swallow my boredom and accept the fact that his needs are at least as important as mine. I also had to learn to accept that he’s not the world’s best communicator, and to not take everything that doesn’t come out quite the right way as an insult. I had to remember that it’s not always about me. *blush*

On the other hand, he has learned to voice his needs, actually tells me what he wants, instead of just getting annoyed at me for not somehow getting it by osmosis. He has learned that if what he says doesn’t go through quite right, maybe it’s not that I’m looking for troubles, but rather that his communication skills might have failed him again. He has learned that 1 word is not a sentence, that I need the whole thing to know what he means.

Little by little, one thing at a time, we’ve worked out ways to deal with our differences, and each other’s quirks so that we can coexist in a peaceful loving relationship. It took 9 years! And we’re still learning! There are still quite a few face off, we are both dramatic and strong willed, but we have learned to talk things out, to take a step back, to put aside our pride and work together to make things work. There have been many times in the last 9 years at which it would have been easy to call it quits. Financial issues, personal differences, professional stress getting between the two of us. We didn’t though, we love and trust each others enough to know that it’s worth fighting for.

There has to be selflessness, an ability to see beyond your own self and put yourself in the other’s shoes trusting that the other person is doing the same thing. That means opening yourself to being very vulnerable, and that can be frightening. It is a lot of work to make a relationship successful, you have to put your ego aside and risk being hurt, at the same time you have to remember to take care of yourself and stand on your own two feet. It’s a tough balance to maintain.

Are there days where I wish I had a more expressive husband? Of course! A smooth talker might not have his quiet loving way of looking at me though. Are there days I wish he wasn’t so stubborn? Yeah, but then maybe he wouldn’t have this strength of character that I admire so much. I’m sure there are days he wishes he had a more laid back wife. With two quiet people in the house though, life would be so dull!!

I once heard somebody explain that love isn’t about finding someone with no faults, but rather finding someone who’s faults you can live with. I agree!

Friday, March 18, 2011

In fear and in love of my beautiful city

“Civilization is hideously fragile and there's not much between us and the horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish.” ~Carrie P. Snow

Like everybody else, I've been riveted to the TV, watching footage of what's happening in Japan. Earthquake, tsunami, volcano, nuclear emergency, it seems that the very universe is bent on bringing Japan down. Yet the Japanese people remain calm, stoic, they seem to take this all with a courage and a determination that is greatly humbling. Even Diane Sawyer with her dramatic arm waving could not drum up a panic among those poor people. That woman makes my teeth itch...

Here in the US it's a whole different matter. Yesterday some nut called KGO on the afternoon show to proudly announce that she was not panicking or anything, but she had packed up some seaweed (????) and was running north to be with her loved ones to wait for the apocalypse. People after people were calling to explain how they were loading up on Iodine, salt (???) and other "emergency supplies".

Closer to me, a few people admitted thinking seriously about leaving San Francisco. This did give me some pause. San Francisco IS a time bomb, we all know it. We have the San Andreas fault running right under us (South SF that is) or close by. Hayward is really not that far, and numerous smaller faults are running all around us, and despite all the rumors, myths and guesses, nobody knows when the "big one" is going to happen.

I've been thinking about that, wondering if really it was worth the risk. There IS a risk, the die hard San Franciscan will laugh and say out loud that there is nothing to worry about, yet they will gladly talk about how horrible and scary the Loma Prieta earthquake was in 1989. That Shake was 900 times smaller than the earthquake that hit Japan last week.

I went to work Friday looking around downtown and imagining what it would like to have the high rise sway, shake, and fall all around me. As I walked in the downtown center, on the first floor of one such high rise, I was fearfully aware of the tons and tons of building over my head. I buried my mind into my meeting, trying very hard to forget about it and I did. After work though, it came back to me. Why stick around? What is it about San Francisco that makes it worth the risk? I got my answer last weekend.

Saturday I had the day entirely off. My husband and I headed out to Crissy Fields and to Fort Point. I had never visited the place, and we decided it was time to go. The place is so much fun to visit. I'm a fan of history and love old buildings that have a story to tell. Not only that, but the view from the top is just fabulous! It was an absolutely perfect San Francisco day: sunny, crisp but not cold. We enjoyed our visit greatly and then had lunch just outside the Warm Hut Cafe. After eating we hit the beach with Grace (our dog who had to wait outside Fort Point, no dog allowed). We left Crissy field and decided to drop Grace at home and walk around on Clement street, hitting all our favorite spots (mainly Green Apple honestly, BOOKS!).

Sunday we got out again, and went to the Farmers Market at Fort Mason. As we explored the little but fun market, we realized there was a Cafe/Bookstore hidden behind it. Who can resist such a thing?? We went in, had a delicious coffee, talked it up with the lady at the counter, and came back with old books that we were all proud to find.

After the horrors of the Japanese disaster, and the fear it brought to me, this weekend was the perfect San Francisco weekend. It reminded me why we decided to move back to the city, and why we love it so much. Yes there are risk in the Bay Area, as there are risk in Tornado Alley, as there are risk on the Gulf Coast with the hurricanes, or in Canada with the snow/sleet storms. No place in the world is completely disaster proof. Even if there was such a place, what about fire? Traffic accident?

I love San Francisco, it's a beautiful city, with greatly interesting people, where there is always something going on, something to do, something to see. I no longer feel like an alien here, when I think of home, I think of San Francisco. It's MY city, and I am not leaving it as long as I can afford to stay. Yes there is a possibility that an earthquake and/or a tsunami will destroy this city that I love so much, but I choose to think that it will not happen in my lifetime. Since I do not have children to worry about, I'm willing to gamble on it.

I will prepare as I can for a possible disaster, but I will not let fear keep me from enjoying my living here. When that happens, it will be time to move, and I'm not there now.

People of Japan, you are in our thoughts, in our heart. Be strong, you will rise from this. Hopefully we will all learn from this to be better prepared when our turn come.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Loving A "Real Man"

The tragedy of machismo is that a man is never quite man enough.
~Germaine Greer

Valentine's day came and went, and it left me thinking. I absolutely adore my husband; he is my best friend, my support when the going gets tough, my inspiration when I don't feel too confident and the only person in the whole world whom I know I can trust completely. I also have an enormous admiration for him, as a man, and as an artist, I'm very often taken aback and impressed by the depth of his talent, his dedication, and the strength of his character. He never pretends to be something he is not, for the simple reason that who and what he is is enough! This last element is at the core of this little note.

My husband ends up being the butt of a lot of my jokes and stories, and he knows it. People sometimes don't realize that I do tell him when I talk about him, and really he's ok with it. Once one of my members made the comment that, if he was a "Real Man", my husband would "set me straight" when he heard about what I was saying about him. I didn't argue the point, it wasn't worth it at the time, but now, a few years later, I think I would like to.

First I would like to define "Real Man" as I think it's the very center of the whole thing. The stereotypical description of a "Real Man" can be simplified to a rugged looking, over sexed and overbearing bully who rules his house with an iron fist and suffers no confrontations of any kind. He can win a fight with a grizzly bear first thing in the morning, drink 45 beers before climbing on the roof to repair the chimney. A real man is never afraid, never cries, and never gives up.

If that's a "Real Man", my husband certainly is not it... thankfully! Yet, I do believe that he is much more a "Real Man" than those macho chauvinists who obviously feel the need to assert their manhood strongly and regularly.

In the 10+ years that I have known him, I have seen him afraid, I have seen him overwhelmed, I have seen him cry, whine and pretty much anything in between. What does that say about his manhood? He can very well hold his own in any debate, and does not easily back down (Woah! understatement of the year!) but he will debate my position, it wouldn't occur to him to debate my right or ability to debate his. With a bit of practice he can probably hold his liquor, but honestly in a fight with a grizzly bear... well, thankfully I can run faster than he can. HA!

My husband is a "Real Man" because he doesn't feel the need to assert his manhood all the time. He is not afraid to stand his ground, and will not back down when he knows he's right, but he does not feel the need to assert any kind of authority to prove his strength. When I'm feeling strong, he gives me all the space I need to do my thing, he stands by me letting me know how much he believes in me and that he's there whenever my steps falter. He does not feel threatened by being married to a strong willed (ahem... no comment!) woman who's not afraid to voice her opinions (I said no comment!), on the contrary it makes him proud! Don't let his quiet-ness fool you though, he lets me go on and on, that doesn't mean that he always agrees and/or that I always win. how boring would that be??

I have to admit, being married to such a man makes my life that much more enriching and fulfilling. Because I know that he is not threatened by who I am, I feel fully at ease being myself. I never feel like I have to pretend to be anything else but just little ol' me. He makes sure I know that he loves me just as I am, and that he is proud of me and believes in me. In the light of such support and belief in my abilities, it's easier to put myself out there and feel confident doing so. I know that no matter what, at least one person believes in my abilities and my worth. He gives me the space I need to stand on my own two feet and achieve what I set out to do.

He is who he is and I love him all the more for it. A "Real Man" doesn't have such a fragile manhood that he has to asserts it all the time. A "Real Man" can step back and respect loved one's strength and space enough to not be overbearing. A "Real Man" earns and gives love, trust, and respect. A "Real Man" is a man with whom one wants to spend his/her life not because he is perfect, but because he is who he is and does not pretend to be anything else.

Did I mention that a "Real Man" is incredibly sexy? Something to think about guys...

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm here, I'm here!

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself”
Zen Proverb

Today I did absolutely nothing productive. I think it's the first day in months that I just sit around and do nothing. It's a weird feeling, all morning I was trying to think of something productive to do. I washed my clothes that needs hand washing. Then I started on the kitchen and realized that there was no reason why I HAVE TO be doing something productive. I'm on vacation for the week. Stop already!

I decided to look into my jewelry boxes to see what I had. As I looked through, I found my pentagram necklace. Not only I didn't know where it was, I had forgotten I had it. This has been an anchor to me the last few years, reminding me of how important it is to keep connected to myself, to what's truly important to me.

This is a good image of how things have been lately. It seems that everything that was dear to me was put aside for the sake of speed and productivity. The passing of people who were very dear to me almost went unnoticed as, tired and overwhelmed I didn't dare stop and feel for fear that it would stop me in my tracks. I remember telling my husband: "I don't have time to be sad, there is work to be done." So one by one, things started falling aside.

That is until today when sitting in my living room with nothing to do I realize how wrong this all is. I have no clue where my music went. I think it failed to make the transit from my old laptop to my new one, more than a year ago. I don't remember what jewelry I have, by the time I'm showered, dressed and make-uped, it's more than time to run out, I have a necklace or two that I never really put away and that's about it.

These are trivial things, superficial reminders of what truly is the root of the problem: I have let myself fall at the bottom of the priority list once again. My only saving grace is my husband; always there for me, supportive and loving, reminding me gently that I am not superwoman, that I need to take care of myself. His patience and support are often the only things that keeps me going.

He called from work today, asking what I was up to. When I guiltily admitted that I was doing nothing he just said "Good! I'm glad that you are taking time to do nothing!" How cool is that?

Some women get chocolate for Valentine's day, some women even get diamonds. I have my gift every day and it's so much more than things: I have a lover, a partner, a supporter and a best friend... EVERYDAY.

This week is my week off, I had grand plans to go shopping, to get the apartment organized, to get everything cleaned. I had plans to do a month of work in a week. My husband is taking time off also, and yes we will get some stuff done, but it's a vacation, and I will do what "I" need for "myself". It is no crime, it is not even wrong. Damn it I deserve it!

I have my pentagram hanging from my neck, my husband at my side and I will rest and relax because that's what I need and that's what I want. Now if I can find my MP3 player and download that Eminem song that I like so much...

"I'm about to lose my mind
You've been gone for so long
I'm running out of time
I need a doctor
Call me a doctor
I need a doctor, doctor
To bring me back to life..."
(Eminem, Dr Dre)