Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As I was saying...

I haven't posted here in over a year, but there were a couple of good reasons:
  1. Last spring, all hell broke loose. After transferring to a job in which my pay rate and hours were severely cut, I lost most of my home amenities, including internet.
  2. My family and I parted company. I used to live with my parents, with whom I also used to share a house with T. After our rental was sold out from under us, we were evicted. We ended up splitting up out of necessity, with my younger children and I going one way, and my oldest child (who is 18) and my parents going another. We just couldn't afford to move all together.
  3. T and I got back together. His main reason for wanting out was that we had always lived with my parents, for financial reasons. We now have our own place, with my kids, and the costs are actually less here.
So here we are again. Not sure what I'm going to talk about, now that T and I are back together. Probably about freebies again. But we'll see.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How I'm feeling today: The Bangles "Hazy Shade of Winter"

It's late May, and yet the weather is wet and cold. It's not gotten over 65 degrees today, and I have to go to work. So, I was looking for songs on YouTube to get me going. Then I came across this cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter". It was covered by The Bangles for the "Less Than Zero" movie soundtrack. The movie was about young, rich, and drug-addicted people coming to a crash, but I'd like to think this was something from a party scene in the movie. Keepin' it upbeat, you know.

So, here ya go.

Friday, May 18, 2012

How I'm feeling tonight: Aerosmith "Rag Doll"

You can tell you're getting old when you start complaining about how great things used to be. "Man, the music now, it's got no balls!" "It's not as sexy as it used to be!" Well, here's my two cents' worth.

I remember when I was younger (say, mid-20's) and sex was a forbidden treat. I had just gotten divorced, and I got a truly educated person to show me what I was missing in my straight-outta-high-school marriage. I had only thought I knew what I was doing (the lesson, kids, is to find your pleasure and share it, rather than to wait for your partner to do it for you), and the correct instructor showed me how to make it better. I relished those days, and was completely heartbroken when my 'teacher' left.  I still have great memories.

"Rag Doll" for me is a combination of a laugh at my teenaged self, the one who thought she knew everything; and that mid-20's girl who figured out what she was SUPPOSED to know. Which brings me to my late 30's 'elderly' complaint: Nothing is dirty as it used to be.  (*sigh...*) At least we can enjoy the memories...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

He knows me well...

Once upon a time, I made a habit of not really getting to know anyone. It started with 'friends' who would use my old house as a crash pad for nefarious activities (read: tons of booze and property damage), after which I declared it would never happen again. I stuck to it for years, and never really socialized beyond my own family. Because I didn't get to know anyone personally, no one got to know me, either. For some reason, that bothered me more than my own laziness.

Meeting T, I discovered it could be nice to invest time into learning about someone. T was worth getting to know, too, and I learned that he and I had much in common. Both of us were raised in poverty, with parents who chose to move around rather than to solve the problems they were having in their hometowns. Both of us knew what it was like to be expected to work full-time at night, and still try to earn a diploma in the morning. (In the end, T earned his G.E.D., instead. I graduated high school.) Both of us were familiar with the concept of financially supporting our parents. We both had love/hate relationships with our respective siblings. Finally, neither of us had very many friends. We ended up becoming each others' best friend, instead.

So, when we separated, and he briefly moved onto another relationship, I took it hard. I literally lost my best friend for a while. At the time, though, I didn't realize I also missed that someone really knew me, as T did. Once the fling was flung, and we were back to being each others' friend, I felt much more comfortable.

For instance, we were discussing my mother's time in intensive care, and though she survived a spinal infection, for a while it didn't seem she would. During discussion about that time, T  asked what I would have done if she hadn't made it.

"Well, I don't know. Probably have done what I always do: go to pieces, then dry it up and get the arrangements made. Funeral, cremation, all that. Then, figure out what to do with my father. I'd probably----"

"Send him to Missouri?", T asked.

I thought about it. "Yeah, his whole family is there. That's probably the best thing for him." (Full disclosure: my dad is unnaturally attached to my mom, and the prospect of her almost fatal illness in 2010 challenged him more than anyone.) But it was reassuring, somehow, that T knew what I would have done, and was able to vocalize it.

T and I do this a lot. When things were going badly in our relationship, only we could admit to each other that sometimes we actually hated each other.  I know when he's doing poorly, or feeling lonely. He knows when I need a hug, or a phone call.  He also knows when buffalo wings are more appropriate for my bad moods. He knows when that look on my face is more than just a bad day.

It's probably why we're still friends. The most recent example was when I was feeling a little anxious about the state of our relationship, but hadn't said anything to him about it yet. He was telling me about how he wasn't making too much headway in the social or work departments in his new town, then said, "But I think you and I will always be friends, even if we don't get back together."

I felt so much better, like my questions were answered.

He knows me so well.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I found my old movie blog!

I forgot I left this up! The Spankavision Movie Blog was my old vampire movie site (Google it. My computer is shit. A couple of ill-advised updates when you don't have much RAM on your hard drive and you keep getting rebooted. Or, at least I do.)

Funny how you manage, in spite of yourself, to leave a large footprint on the internet, especially if you commit to a screen name. I have had AtlanticVamp for a good nine or so years, and in that time, I've managed to splash my opinion across many kilobytes (maybe even gigabytes) of cyberspace. But there it was, something I actually thought I had deleted.

...sigh...good times.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How I'm feeling tonight: Dylan Dray "Pretty Thing"

I saw this on a commercial for Sundance Channel's programming. The movie most prominently featured was "The Last Mistress", and the sultry images of full-lipped nobles, smoky-eyed courtesans, and wandering kisses was set off by this song. It was so hot, and I had to know who did the song, and now I know.

It sounds very country/western, but it's still a cool song.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hurting myself

Note: If you are squeamish, this might not be the post for you. --AV

Over the years, I have had the usual skin problems that most people have: sunburns, acne, chapping in the winter, and chafing in snug clothes. I've never had peeling, except in the case of the sunburn, and never anything contagious. I've actually been quite fortunate in this regard. Two years ago, however, I began having an issue with my skin that worried me, and I began to wonder what was happening to my body, specifically my immune system.

In January 2010, there were hard freezes in South Georgia, and my landlord was ill-prepared for those conditions. Our pipes and water pump (which is not in a shelter or insulated) froze, and we were having to run extra water once the temperatures allowed for water to run. Each day, we had to bathe in what little water we could get together at my house. Initially, it wasn't a problem, but I began to notice itchy dry patches on my calves... JUST my calves. When the water situation was resolved, the condition stayed.

By February that year, I had scaling, flaking, and some raised bumps. I found myself alternating between treating those patches with lotions, Neosporin, and Vaseline; and scratching like a mad person as each treatment wore off.  I tried shaving every day, and not shaving for days, to see if I was giving myself razor burn. Neither thing worked. Luckily, the weather eventually warmed, but my calves continued to look raw and bloody in places, with dry patches scattered on my legs. I treated my legs as best I could, sending off for samples of medical-grade balms and lotions, but these only worked for a little while, then I was back to the itching and raw-looking skin.

Before I knew it, a year had passed and I still had terribly raw, itchy skin on my calves. But, as the first year stretched into two, a funny thing happened: it began to heal on its own.

But, I've over-simplified.

For those of you (not sure how many there are) who've read this blog since it started in 2010, it may have seemed as though the trouble began with an affair in August 2010, on T's (STBExH) part. However, there had been issues before then. We had been dating since 2004, living together since December 2005-January 2006, and because I had been living with my folks, helping them with bills in exchange for them helping with my kids, T was added to the family. I did tell T I didn't want to live this way, but didn't have the financial means to do anything else. T had done something I had done in my first marriage: when the going got tough, he used the "B" word (break-up) to get my attention. As soon as he was sufficiently pacified, he'd calm down and all would be well, until the next perceived crisis, then the "B" word would come up again. Initially, this happened about once every two or three months. As time wore on, it began to only happen around late fall of the year.

We were married in March 2008, and even that came from a complication: a man I had dated, before he moved on to marry my sister, started a cruel rumor: he claimed I was trying to rekindle our relationship. My sister was horrified, and lost her temper with me. When T found out, he confronted sister's husband, and then came home and proposed that after nearly four years, we should get married---that week. T confessed that he was upset that during the confrontation, he couldn't refer to me as "my wife". We were married by the end of the week, but predictably, trouble cropped up before long, with the "B" word being replaced by the "D" word: Divorce. However, just like before, something would pacify him, and he'd forget it for a while.

The final straw was in late 2009, with him taking a temporary job in another town. He was staying with family while he worked, and came home on the weekends. He was very happy with the job, but would complain more about the living situation at home more and more often. During one of our daily phone calls the last week of the job, which fell in the last week of December 2009, he confessed he actually wanted a divorce, and claimed it was because he believed I was cheating on him. I wasn't, so I was surprised that he thought I might be. I was always at work, at a job I worked 40+ hours a week, or home, and he knew it.

However, he moved back in in March 2010, after I lost my long-time job. In the months that followed, we decided to reconcile, and he got another job. My legs only healed a little, but they began to look less raw. We began acting more like a family, taking my kids from a previous marriage out to eat, to the city pool, and other outings. But the pool ended up being the beginning of the end, as he met the woman who would be his girlfriend there.

For those paying attention, the rash on my legs began shortly after he first asked for divorce. At the time, I thought it was because of mineral deposits being disturbed in the frozen lines, after they thawed. T moved out for good in August 2011, which was when they began to heal.

So, what gives? I found that a lot of what was supposedly a "rash" was brought on by chapped skin I normally got in the winter, and I was clawing the crap out of myself in the night, while I slept. As I kept opening and reopening gashes in my calves, they didn't heal, and in fact, kept getting infected, and itching even more. It began to be harder to keep them from bleeding and itching, and my legs began to look more raw. The only time they healed was during the brief few months of reconciliation from March 2010 to August 2010, and then after T left.

I'm not without my scars. I have dark marks down both my calves, where old scars are still visible. I moisturize my legs every day, as often as I can, to avoid triggering the condition again.  I shave more carefully, and I keep a lookout for any recurrence of the "rash". It hasn't come back. I don't think it's going to, though. Truthfully, I think this was my turbulent emotions spreading to my skin. I'm not sure why it was just my calves, but it never spread anywhere else on my body. The worst case scenario, for me, however, is the suspicion that I was clawing at myself because I was too chicken-shit to just get a razor and cut myself.

At the end of the day, I still wonder: was it a psychosomatic illness? Was my body acting out over my frustration with T? Or was I just so dissatisfied with my life at the time that I was literally trying to escape my skin? And why was it JUST my calves? I don't think I'll ever know the answers, and I'm not sure I want to know at this point. But over the years, I have been told I don't handle disappointments well, and I've learned to contain myself, at least on the surface. Maybe my legs were speaking for me.