Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yo my gosh

From Free Will Astrology for Taurus:

I know how you're feeling, Taurus. I've done time in the same psychic prison you're trapped in. Because of my exemplary behavior while incarcerated, luckily, I was freed well in advance of my scheduled release date. Would you like to know what I did to win my early release? Four things: (1) I took responsibility for the ways I had perpetuated my own suffering. (2) I practiced feeling grateful for the lessons my pain had taught me. (3) I thought deeply about the actions I could take to atone for how I had hurt other people. (4) I vowed to use the shame I felt as a motivation to become smarter and kinder and wilder.

Seriously, if I didn't know better, I would swear Mr. Free Will was stalking me. This is so spot on the nose. I have been spending my free time trying to figure some of my sh*t out. I carry a lot, no I mean A LOT, of psychic baggage with me everyday, every where. Time to let it go. I really struggle with forgiveness. Martha Beck (wonderful, wonderful Martha Beck) wrote in her book, Leaving the Saints, that forgiveness means "is giving up all hope of having had a different past." Hooo -- does that ever describe me and my psychic pain.

I have been stuck at age 10 for the past 19 years -- the year my world went topsy turvy. That was the year the my mom...well, how to put it?...lost all control of her anger. She was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, but, for many reasons, I don't think that was an accurate diagnosis. That was the year the emotional and verbal abuse started. Things got bad and stayed bad for the next four years. During that time, I lost the one person in this world that I truly loved and trusted. My mom had always been there for me and loved me unconditionally, unlike many of my other family members at the time. I was devastated and stopped trusting myself and other people. I stopped opening up. Mentally, imaginatively, I shut down. It's taken a long time to work my way back and I still have a ways to go. And part of my journey involves forgiving and understanding my mom. I don't condone her actions, but I think I may have reached an understanding as to why she did what she did.

And how do I congratulate myself for reaching that understanding? By getting mad at myself for not having understood earlier. Logically, I know this is ridiculous, but emotionally, I feel it. I guess this is why I have a therapy appointment next week.

P.S. After a two week hiatus, I did finally talk to my mom again, on Thanksgiving. She acted like nothing had ever happened, so I did too. Not sure this is the best course long-term, but I'm also not sure forcing her to talk about our issues is the best course either. Ha! Like I could force her to do anything.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hanukkah has come early this year...

It's a veritable festival of lights at chez Davidson! Finally, after 11 long months, we finally have overhead lighting in our kitchen! Shalom! Opa! Yahoo! And, upstairs, the lightening is up to code! No worry about going up in flames while we sleep! Yipee!

1) I apologize to all my Jewish readers -- I have no intention of insulting your religion or comparing my situation to that of those who celebrated the first Hanukka, but I did feel it appropriate to make reference to the holiday since my lights are working and I am joyous about it and wish to celebrate.

2) I aplogize for the overabundance of exclamation (!) points, but this is truly a joyous occasion, requiring many !!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Guilty Pleasure TV

Just so much to post tonight. Can you tell I'm lonely? And in desperate need of distraction? Humor me.

My guilty pleasure TV:

1) What Not to Wear on TLC

Truly, I feel no guilt or shame in loving this show. Stacy and Clinton rule!

2) America's Next Top Model on CW

Go CariDee!

3) Numb3rs on CBS

They solve crime with math and physics! And they don't take themselves too seriously! No!

I heart geeks and vampires

My new Freebie 5 list:

1. Nathan Fillion from Firefly and Serenity

2. John Krasinski as Jim Halpert on The Office

3. Jim Marsters as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

4. Ron Livingston from Office Space and the new Sprint commercials and some show on FOX

5. David Boreanaz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and Bones

I'm a little embarrassed that I couldn't come up with a more meaningful or intellectual post, like my top 5 pick for person of the year, but oh well. Hope you enjoy the eye candy. Rawr.

Ooops...I did it again...

But not to a Britney Spears song. This time I'm using my wicked moves to celebrate one of my favorite ladies, Ms. Dolly Parton.

Yes, I am playing air piano in the beginning.

I was inspired while creating my Cheesy Love Song CD for Frema. So excited!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I want to give a shout-out to my good friend, Ms. H, and my husbandito, J. They went above and beyond this weekend, when I made a very bad decision. Ms. H had a house warming party Friday night, at which alcoholic beverages were served. And I drank. A lot. How much I couldn't tell you. You see, I have a problem with social drinking. I find social situations stressful (even with people I know and love), and I like how alcohol makes me feel (i.e, relaxed and not self-conscious). And I'd had a pretty stressful week, both at work and at home. So, I arrived at Ms. H's party without a plan on how to limit my drinking and just flew past the slightly tipsy phase straight into hammered. To make a long and gruesome story short, I wound up getting sick (not in the bathroom) and J and Ms. H had to take care of me during the wee hours of the morn, mere hours before a massive work party at my house with J's sister and her family. Needless to say, I was not able to assist the work party. J was tres disappointed in me and I was as well. I let him down when he needed me, was a massive pain the booty and ruined the end of a very nice party.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. Yes, I have more such tales, one that involves me getting sick on J. He's quite the trooper and, obviously, very committed to me. So, a long time coming (too long), I have made the decision to stop drinking socially. I make very bad decisions when it comes to those situations, and I make very bad decisions when I have been socially drinking. So, no more. Not that I am asking you all to stop me if you see me drinking. Only I can do that. I will also provide my own non-alcoholic beverages. I do ask you not pressure me to drink. I'm a sucker for peer pressure, especially when alcohol is involved. Trust me, it's not pretty when I go too far and no one else needs to be subjected to that.

The reason this is a confession is because I'm embarrassed. Embarrassed by my actions this past weekend and on other occasions. Embarrassed that I can't control myself when it comes to liquor (or much else, but that's a whole 'nother post). But, I know there's no shame in taking control of a situation and doing something positive.

Okay, think that's enough confessions for one post. Whew.

House for Sale

Finally, finally, finally our house is on the market. Not sure my marriage or I were going to survive the last month, but all are in tact, thankfully. I made J promise if we have to move again in the next 5 years for his work, he's handling the whole move and the selling of the house all by himself. Not that he hasn't helped this time, but I just cannot do this again any time soon. We've moved 5 times in the past 3 years. Yes, I agreed to every move, but no more! I swear it!

With that said, it really is a great little house, and I'm sad to be leaving it, especially since we've done so many great updates. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in Portland, please pass the following link along (RMLS 6100708):

The faster this house sells, the sooner I stop posting about it and start posting about life in a wacky small town. I know you can't wait.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rain and Mothers

So, you know what I hate? When it's raining (and it's been raining here quite a lot lately -- way more than usual) and people with umbrellas walk under the awnings, forcing fools like me without umbrellas to walk in the rain. How rude! And dumb! You have an umbrella sheltering your head -- share the wealth and let those of us sans head covering have half a chance of staying dry. Grrrrrr....

And you know what else I hate? I got on the bus last night and it was packed. I walked to the very back and took a seat between two people who appeared to have been on the bus for a couple stops. I sit down and my butt immediately feels soaked. I think, how did my butt get this wet outside? Then I realize it's the seat (since it's cloth covered, the wetness was not so visible). I feel the seat and confirm my theory. Then the chick sitting next to me says, "Yeah, that seat is really wet." Um, thanks? Couldn't have said that before I sat down, biatch?

And having not learned my lesson, I decided to call my mother back while riding the bus home. I know, I know, I was just asking for what happened when I dialed, but I like to talk to her on the bus because it's a distraction during the ride, and then I don't take up precious at-home time talking to her. Well, we really got into it, while I was on the bus, and I had to say some uncomfortable things, then watch my bus mates pretend they weren't listening (which is fine 'cause I would've been eaves dropping too). Anyway, the gist of the conversation with my mother was that she wants me to call her when I'm frustrated and upset about things and rant to her. Seriously. I think she would rather have me call her upset than happy. And it's not like I don't rant to her about things. But, apparently, that doesn't count unless I call her (rather than her calling me and ranting then). Just writing about this has made me see just how frigging ridiculous the whole conversation was. I am so frustrated with her right now. I love my mum -- she can be really great at times and a lot of fun. And I feel genuinely bad when I upset her because that's not my aim, but I want to be honest. I don't feel I have a genuine relationship with her, and I would like that, but whenever I try to address that, she just shuts down and blocks me out. She had a not so great relationship with her mother and she pushes too hard to have our relationship be like the one she wanted to have with her mom. Yes, she admitted to that (wholeheartedly, as though nothing were wrong with that). I just don't know what to do. She's in Arizona for the winter, so having a face to face talk isn't really possible. And even if it was, I'm not sure we'd make much headway. She's way in denial about many, many things. So, what to do?

Whew -- I did not need this drama this week. I had an interview Monday in WaWa, which went well. Hopefully, I'll have the final interview next week. J started his new job and really likes it (yay!). The house goes on the market this coming Monday (thank the Universe). The kitties have accepted me in J's vacuum, and we are bonding. Democrats are in charge of the federal and state congresses! Rumsfeld has resigned! And Britney Spears is getting a divorce! Yes, I am excited about that. It's so silly, I know, but I've been worried about her. I'm a worrier, it's what I do, and it's not restricted to me and those closest to me. I worry about a wide variety of things. I'm a diversified worrier.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A day in the life

Written by my friend who is a program director at Bradley Angle House Bradley-Angle House, a domestic violence shelter in Portland, Oregon (the oldest on the West Coast, I believe). This friend is one of my heroes; she works tirelessly and passionately on behalf of victims of domestic violence, advocates for a fat positive and gay friendly world and is a true social butterfly. She is intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful and fun. And so flexible that she can, while standing, lift her foot over her head. She amazes me.

Let me start by saying that is fortunate enough to have such committed and knowledgeable advocates providing support and resources to the women and children that enter through our doors, call our crisis line or attend any one of our support groups. This is not an easy field to work in. It’s not the type of work that you neatly file away at the end of the day before your commute home.

When I provide the DV 101 training for all of our new volunteers, I spend quite a bit of time talking about how doing this work will change you. It will change the way you communicate. It will change the way you listen to the news, music, watch TV, observe others interacting with each other. It will make you question what you think you know about healthy relationships. You can’t do this type of work and walk away unaffected. You see and hear too much to not make change.

My day starts at 5:30 am with a phone call from shelter staff. One of the ladies is having an emotional break down and staff is concerned about her safety, the safety of other program participants, and their won safety. They have tried to call the local emergency mental health response team, but no one will be available until 3:00 pm to come to shelter and work with her. They suggest calling the police and having her transported to the hospital. Staff wants to support the woman in making her own decision, but is concerned she is not in the place to do that at the moment.

By the time I arrive at shelter 30 minutes later the woman in question has already begun packing her belongings and has decided to leave shelter. She is frustrated and feeling like this is not the place for her. Within 15 minutes of her leaving, before we have even had the chance to clean up her bed space we already have begun a phone screen with another woman with two children who need shelter.

Around noon they arrive. It’s been a long journey traveling across the US by bus with two small children. They are tired, hungry and grateful to no longer be on a bus full of strangers. It becomes apparent very quickly that the eldest child has witnessed and quite possibly experienced significant abuse. For most children, tired tantrums might consist of crying and flailing of arms, but this tiny four-year-old child stands with her arms firmly planted on her hips, looks her mother square in the eye and tells her she hates her. How do you know what hate is at age 4? Where does such anger come from?

By mid-afternoon it is time for shelter group. The ladies all gather together in the living room to participate. Today they are talking about support. Who are the people in your life that have supported and continue to support you? While sharing their stories they work with construction paper, glue, glitter and makers to make a tree of support. Each leave represents someone or something that has supported her throughout her journey to safety. They are smiling, teasing each other about their craft skills and generally just enjoying each other’s company.

As evening rolls around, some ladies are cleaning up the dishes from dinner while others are preparing their children for bed. The shelter is finally starting to quiet down. The hustle and bustle of the day has dissipated and the ladies are slowing down. This is the time of day when the mind finally has a moment to wander. This is a pretty common situation for most folks in general, but when your life has been turned completely upside down, you have had to leave your life as you once knew it and relocate to a shelter in order to be safe – this is the loneliest part of the day. It is the time you are thankful that there are other ladies around, both residents and staff that understand what you have been through, people that have committed themselves to creating a safe space for you and your family.

Shelter isn’t easy for staff or for participants. We all struggle everyday to meet each other where we are at and offer any sort of support and resources we can. It’s why we as staff remain committed. It’s for those moments in the day when everything is calm, as well as those moments when you know just being there to support someone in their crisis is all you can do. It’s a commitment to ending violence in our community and advocating for survivors everywhere.

Emergency Services Annual Report:

Our Emergency Shelter was home to 127 women and 105 youth last year, for a total of 4,425 nights of shelter. In comparison to the prior year, this represented a 30% increase in the number of women served —and a 7% increase in bednights. The program continued to provide high quality, life-saving services for women and children. These services include case management; domestic violence support groups; emergency food and clothing; advocacy; and referrals for housing, medical care, job training, counseling and other immediate needs.

Bradley-Angle staff are committed to providing culturally competent services to address the needs of the diverse population of women and children who utilize the program. Fifty-six percent of the women participating in shelter services were Caucasian; 17% were Latino; 7% were African American; 2% were Native American; 2% were Asian/SE Asian; and 15% identified themselves as being of mixed heritage. Combined, 44% of the residents were people of color. Seven percent of the women we served identified as being in a relationship with a person of the same gender. Forty-five percent of the women identified as having a disability; and 17% of the women spoke a primary language other than English, mostly Spanish. For most of the year, a significant part of each day was staffed by at least one person who was bilingual in Spanish and English. All of the shelter materials are available in both languages; and interpreters are utilized for house meetings, groups, and one-on-one work at times when bilingual staff are not on site. Eighty-six percent of the households had incomes at or below federal poverty guidelines at the time of entering the shelter.

Our domestic violence shelter truly was a life-line for the 232 women and children who came through its doors. Fifty percent of the women were under a direct death threat from an abuser before coming to shelter. Additionally, 29% of adult shelter residents had visited a hospital emergency room for abuse injuries, 13% had spent one or more nights in a hospital for abuse injuries, and 28% identified as temporarily or permanently disabled from injuries due to abuse.

Unfortunately, the demand for shelter continues to exceed its availability. We answered 2,625 crisis calls pertaining to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, homelessness, and various other issues. Of these, a total of 1318 women with their 862 children requested shelter but were turned away, primarily due to lack of space in our shelter. This means that we had to turn away nearly 9 out of every 10 women (91%) who requested shelter from us.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Global Rich List

The Global Rich List, sponsored by CARE, lets you know just how rich you are.

Based on my annual salary, I am the 120,869,566 richest person in the world, in the top 2.01% richest people. Helps put things in perspective.

(tee hee -- I had labeled the link the Global Rick List -- amusing to think of a list of all the Ricks in the world -- tee hee.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I realized that I had not yet posted a picture of my other cat, Paul, which is not so much unfair to him as it is to my dear readers. He's a luv, so adorable. So here you go -- taken of him last week (he's the orange one).

And a quick update -- J and I have been working hard on the house, getting it ready to go on the market in about a week (!). I'm headed to WaWa (as I've taken to calling it) today with J for a job interview on Monday. With a for-profit. Scandalous. I feel like such a sell out. It's a company that produces health publications for hospitals, HMOs, etc. I'm applying to be a production coordinator, i.e. project manager. I'm hoping the atmosphere is not too corporatey and that I can really get my planning groove on in the position. Planning, it's my hobby.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Or it may have been just what I needed

Tuesday night, when I posted the video of me dancing to Pat Benatar, I thought I was doing something goofy to let off some steam. Well, I also got lots of wonderful feedback, which has been just what I needed. Lately, by the time Friday arrives, I am a wreck of stress, anxiety, fears and exhaustion. I haven't been taking very good care of myself during this time of change and the chaos that goes with moving to a new town and state. But the feedback that I have received on my video has buoyed my spirits and also helped to see myself in a different, more positive light. Thank you, thank you for the feedback.

(I had to post this message because I don't know how to reply to comments individually. I'm not trying to make the non-commenters feel guilty, though it's always nice to hear from you.)