fret reduction

Recently I realized I've spent an awful lot of time fretting over the past few months. I haven't been able to further reduce the cat population or save additional money for buying another house. The Cub* has not visited my neck of the woods for a while. I've not been able to lose much weight or lower my cholesterol (although my doc recently informed me that I lost nine pounds since my last visit. WTF?).

I am yet still waiting to hear about a raise at work, although if I had read all HR emails I would have seen they would not be announced until May because they kindly bumped the minimum pay hike from 2% to 3%. 

But my final visit to my therapist (who didn't retire - she was moved to another part of the hospital system) was well worth the hour invested and $20 copay. I decided to quit fretting about a lot of stuff. I mean, why worry about saving money for a house when the market is not a buyer's market? Especially when I have rent-free accommodation? It's a bit like That 70's Show but it's comfortable, especially since I ripped the carpet out of the bathroom. 

Regarding the Cub, I realized I haven't been fretting. I miss him, but I bear no ill will toward him as he has been honest about things. I suppose it sounds ironic to discuss honesty within an adulterous situation, but marriage itself seems to contribute to so much dishonesty.

I haven't yet felt compelled to seek out a replacement which is frankly a relief. Historically, it's been so difficult for me to find a suitable candidate. It's not so much pickiness as lack of interesting men. And if and when I eventually manage to find someone interesting, there's the additional, vital element - mutual chemistry/lust - that may or may not appear. 

So I'm going to concentrate on more yoga, more reading, better sleep hygiene and less pursuit of the erotic. And I am still hoping to take the Amtrak Zephyr across the West - it runs between Chicago and San Francisco - before funding is cut.

* See The Usual Suspects.



Future marriage prospects

Yesterday there was yet another baby shower at the office. While I don't mind them, I sometimes try to add up how many baby gifts I've purchased over the past 20 or 30 years. It will never be my turn to cash in, but considering my age, temperament and inability to stay home with a baby, this is not anything keeping me awake at night.

After gifts were opened and we all played a repulsive "identify the baby food" game, the conversation turned to future plans. A couple of the young unmarrieds decided to interrogate the marrieds about plighting one's troth. What they should keep in mind when choosing a future spouse? I usually keep quiet during these conversations and yesterday was no different, until someone asked me point-blank if I would ever consider getting married again.

My initial answer is always a flat no, and I explain that I can't see the point at my age, and I don't have much to offer a husband as I'm not wealthy and have certain eccentricities. 

Perhaps my subconscious disagreed with all this, as last night I had quite a long dream about getting married. John Savelle* traveled from the UK and unexpectedly showed up in Texas, determined to talk me into it. He was wearing a very nice tweedy suit, and of course we all looked much younger. I was living with my mother in a smallish house that had never existed in real time. And she was much younger too. 

She was happy to learn of his proposal and although I don't remind me ever accepting it, we eventually went out to find a place to live. I was intrigued that John had flown to Texas from the UK without contacting me first, and hadn't any problem locating me although we hadn't been in contact for a long time. He just shrugged and said "it's easy when you want to know".

But then I was watching Netflix last night and spotted the perfect husband for me: Gomez Addams.

Think about it. He has a libido that never naps. Nothing ever upsets him, even when his children throw their new sibling off the roof.  He likes to blow up things. He's not big on housekeeping either.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. Even if I were just dating him, I could take up fencing again and get free lessons. 

* See The Usual Suspects. 


Extraordinary things, courtesy of Jimmy Webb

Anyone who listened in on my Pandora choices would think I'm very odd. They might even take notice of how I often choose songs written by Jimmy Webb.

Webb grew up in Oklahoma where his father was a rural minister. He was expected to accompany his father musically so he was given piano lessons. We're fortunate he liked piano and later began writing new lyrics to what he considered boring Baptist hymns.

Later, the family moved to California, where the teenage Webb entered college to study music. Upon his mother's death, his father decided to return to Oklahoma but Webb had already decided upon his career. He would later recall his father warning him about his musical aspirations, saying, "This songwriting thing is going to break your heart." Seeing that his son was determined, he gave him $40. He told Jimmy "It's not much, but it's all I have."

It appears that $40 went a long way back then.

The primary reason for my fascination with Webb's music is that he turns the ordinary into the surreal. I heard the song Wichita Lineman when I was around five. I remember this as I remembered the ugly little radio that was in the kitchen of our home in Mesquite. 

Why did a blue-collar worker hear his love's voice through the power lines he spent his days repairing? Webb had an almost-surreal talent to write about ordinary people thinking extraordinary things. 

Another favorite of mine is The Highwayman. It appeals greatly to my hidden romantic side. I would have liked to meet every character described.

I decided to see if Webb talked about his inspiration for this song, and like some of the rare fiction I've written, its origin was dream:

“I had an old brace of pistols in my belt and I was riding hell-bent for leather down country roads, with sweat pouring off of my body. I was terrified because I was being pursued by police, who were on the verge of shooting me. It was very real. Without even thinking about it, I stumbled out of bed to the piano and started playing "Highwayman”. Within a couple of hours, I had the first verse."

 One half-exception is the song MacArthur Park. It's just a bit too weird for me, even though Webb eventually gave up attempting to explain the storyline, saying instead "just think of it as an expressionist painting."  And Richard Harris cannot sing. He should have taken the Rex Harrison route*. 

* Before filming My Fair Lady, Rex Harrison was enrolled in a singing class. However, his vocal range turned out to encompass exactly three notes; therefore he talked his way through his musical numbers. Which worked well, in my opinion. 


the end of the affairs

I finally got around to opening the latest batch of mail last weekend after letting it stack up for a while. It's not all mine and Ian's*; his wife still insists on holding on to Texas residency so she won't get stuck with New York taxes, so I have to go through and shred her bills.  This gives me a catty insight into her spending habits. She and the daughter spend way too much money at the Broome County fat girl dress stores. 

One letter was addressed to me and it looked like an elderly medical bill, so I didn't open it for weeks. But when I finally did, it wasn't a bill; it was a letter from my long-time therapist, telling me she was closing her practice. I had opened it literally the day before she was officially closing it.

Even though I hadn't felt the need to visit her in a year, this still upset me to the point of tears. We went back a long way; just over 20 years, to be precise. And the first year of cognitive therapy had made a big difference to me. This is why I don't think any other sort of psychotherapy is useful - instead, I think classic therapy is indulgent and a waste of time.

Later that day I decided to email her, as she had always answered my emails in the past.  She answered this one as well. It turned out that she hadn't totally retired; instead, she had moved her practice to the university's pain clinic (no, I don't know why). She also offered to see me one last time to "wrap up" things, so I accepted and we made an appointment for later in the month. But how does one wrap up 21 years, especially with a therapist who called me her friend, and who had admitted I was one of her favorite clients? I kind of doubt we'll ever meet again after this last appointment, although I'd love to meet her for coffee or similar once or twice a year.

I'm still feeling sad about it. I guess we all need our Get Out of Jail Free cards, even if we never use them. And I recently found out that the Cub's* trips to my neck of the woods will be curtailed in the near future, due to a business downturn- something else I didn't want to hear.

* See The Usual Suspects.



bronchitis with a silver lining

With the exception of my 2013 bout of pneumonia, I've just missed the most days of work I can remember.

I work up coughing last Saturday, and by Sunday had retired to my bed with a vile cough and 102F after a visit to the local urgent care doc. I returned to my own doctor three days later as I was desperate for some sleep, but couldn't stop coughing. And although the fever had dissipated, I was beginning to fear more pneumonia. But he told me to relax, and assured me that I would not die at home and be eaten by my cat (he actually said that last part). He also gave me some cough suppressants so I finally got some rest. This turned things around pretty quickly.

Fever dreams are much more fun as you age. I still remember what nightmares I would have as a feverish child; I still remember one in which I was drowning in Cheerios. But this week's dream roster included a three-way in an unplugged sauna with two other women, and a travel itinerary with actor Damian Lewis that included a test flight in an aircraft that resembled a Harrier jump jet before we pursued some other, adults-only action.

Since I don't particularly care for Damian Lewis, I found the the female threesome dream to be considerably hotter.