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Archive for August, 2012

Suburgatory’s Sheeple

Like I said in my very first blog post, I find writing about things that happen to me and about life in general is cathartic.  At least it is for me.  I pour out my feelings and thoughts.  I send it into cyber-space.  If it causes someone to think about life or laugh at things or even cry, then I’m glad because it helped them grow.  If they don’t like it and simply delete it, I don’t care.  I generally won’t know anyway and even if I did know, I still don’t care.  That’s their choice and their opinion.  They can think as they please as long as I am afforded the same. 

I’ve written a lot of “stories” in the past about all variety of issues.  Most of them were emailed or sent to support groups.  In the past 2 years, what I’ve written about is generally to laugh at how I’ve handled change since I moved from the Bay Area to the Sierra foothills.  Some of the time I’ve handled it better than other times.  Many of them are not yet on this blog, but, in the future, I’ll post some of my “oldies but goodies”.  However, please don’t *ever* think that my move hasn’t been worth it.  I am by far and away in a better place physically and emotionally than I have been in a long while, particularly when I hear about idiotic goings-on in the Suburgatory that is known as “Pleasanton” where I used to live.  Listening to some of what continues to happen there makes me remember more and more why I really no longer miss the Bay Area.

Wait … let me think about that again … hmmm … that’s right … I never HAVE missed the Bay Area since I moved.

 

I miss the way the Bay Area *used* to be before it was taken over by the “Country Club” set and/or the “let’s tax everyone into oblivion so that we can take care of people who want to abuse the system by doing absolutely nothing” set and/or the “let’s overbuild and crowd the freeways so much that we can’t enjoy the wonderful weather and scenery that is the Bay Area” set.  Now … I don’t mean to pick on just Pleasanton.  It’s a disease that is of the “yuppie” set or the “liberal suburbanite” set or even the “everyone should live in the city in beehive apartments over mass transit stations” set that has overtaken America.  The Suburgatory set however is who I used to live in the midst of and who appears to me to have a *need* to put out the “Perfect Family Image”.  In my maybe not-so-humble opinion (and not everyone will agree but remember … it’s *my* opinion), they also have a *need* to try to force everyone to be and have exactly the same things in life, no matter how much they’re willing to do for themselves.  They want everyone to be “guaranteed” happiness. 

Guess what, gang?  The Constitution guarantees the “pursuit” of happiness … but does not “guarantee” happiness.  If that were so, my son, Keegan, wouldn’t have had Cystic Fibrosis and wouldn’t have had to undergo a lung transplant at the age of 16 and wouldn’t have died at 17.  If that were so, various & sundry other issues in my life wouldn’t have happened.  Those are all completely different topics however.

I’m sorry.  My life is too messy.  It isn’t and can’t be perfect.  My life has had too much “stuff” happen in it (I’d use a different word but I’m writing this on break at work so I’d better not).  I would find a “perfect life” boring anyway.  What fun is that?  My father used to tell me that I decided my purpose in life when I was born was to stir the pot.  I agree.  I never fit the mold.  I never will.  I don’t want to.  I’m forever grateful that he allowed me to do that and be that.  I don’t fit in society’s “box”.  Ask my currently 84-year-old very feisty mother.  I was born not even realizing there *was* a box until school and “authority” figures tried to cram me into one.  Guess what again?  I don’t fit.  I don’t WANT to fit.  I’m not one of Suburgatory’s “Sheeple”.  (Hey, Hollywood … you don’t even have a lock on that comment, because Roy and I were calling those areas “Suburgatory” long before the TV show of that name started in 2011.)

My oldest son, Logan, said it best a long time ago.  “I’m not even a square peg that they’re trying to put in a round hole.  I’m a triangle.”  That fits not only me but all of my children.  I raised them to be that way.  I like to think I have even more sharp edges and points than a triangle though.  That’s it!  I’m a RISING STAR with all sorts of spiky rays that they’re trying to put in a round hole.  I won’t go.

Anyway, be that as it may … I digress … I’m not making this into a political diatribe or a cultural divisive statement.  I’m really not (not this time anyway but who knows when that might change).  I’m just thanking myself (and Roy) for being smart enough to get out of there and into an area that we can relax and not worry about the petty day-to-day that is “Suburgatory”.  Perhaps my life isn’t perfect.  Hey, where I live now isn’t perfect.  No place is.  That’s ok with me.  I wouldn’t want it that way anyway.  Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.  That’s why I like living out in the sticks like I do.  I’m away from those that must make everyone into “Sheeple”.

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an addendum

Let me add that the divorce may have been final in 2004, but we were separated in 2003 when Roy and I met face-to-face … so don’t think bad thoughts.  Well, you can if you want … but we won’t listen because we know we were ok.  We just know.

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“Coincidences”

Where do I start?  I know that the beginning is usually a good place, but that also will depend on your definition of “beginning”, because there are so many “beginnings” between Roy and I with our various backgrounds that the “beginning” depends on what the issue is.  I suppose, at least since this blog is about things that have happened to me, to Roy, to us, and to those around us that mean something to us, that we’ll start with our beginning and how we met (or at least an abridged version of it).

Both Roy and I were previously divorced – different reasons, different times – never a good thing – for us or for the individual that was involved with us in the past.  It happens.  I’d like to say it was completely the other person’s fault, but that’s never the case.  It doesn’t truly matter.  The fact that we were divorced previously is just a place to start.

I was married for 25 years previously.  I was in the process of divorce right after my middle child died in 2001.  My marriage had been crumbling before that, and that just put it over the edge.  We are still friends and I still care but we were so diametrically different at that stage in life that it just ended.  I swore I’d never get involved other than superficially again.  Losing a child, a part of me, and then getting divorced just about destroyed me emotionally.  I’m not proud of that, but it did.  The point is, however, that I never wanted to expose myself emotionally to anyone again.  The actual divorce was final in 2004, but it was in the midst of crumbling at that time.  In the midst of this, I met a lot of friends online.  I was part of a couple of medical support groups that catered to those that had issues like my son did before he died and that helped me cope.  I talked to people and met them online that way and wasn’t afraid of any of that.  I’d met a few of them face-to-face and realized that not all online people are gargoyles or con artists like so many thought in the early 2000s (and like so many still do, actually).  I guess I figured out that while they are out there, they are also out there in real life or meeting them in a bar (very yucky place to meet) or wherever.

So where does all of this bring me?  It brings me to the fact that Roy and I met online.  Now the first thing most people think is that we met on a dating site or in a chat room.  Nope.  That’s not even close.  We didn’t meet through anyone else we knew and it wasn’t through my support groups.  We met in late 2002 through an accidental email.

What’s an accidental email, you may think?  I’m so glad you asked (even if you didn’t, this is my blog so I can act like you did).  An accidental email is like a wrong number.  It was to someone that wasn’t intended but really was, since neither Roy nor I have ever believed in “coincidence”.

On November 23, 2002, I had gone to a business meeting in southern California (good ol’ LaLaLand, where I was born but where I never belonged).  I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area and had for many years, raising my kids and working a part time home business.  I had driven down by myself on Friday, November 22, 2002, and was driving back over-night to arrive home in the early morning of Saturday, November 23, 2002.  Essentially, it was a quick back-and-forth trip.  I arrived home very very early in the morning, but, due to the long drive, I couldn’t go straight to sleep so I decided to check email just to see if there was anything I needed to know or do.  I didn’t expect much from a Friday night into a Saturday morning, but it gave me enough time to unwind and stop vibrating from the drive.

When I sat down, I found a variety of email: spam, business, personal, and random things.  One random item caught my eye and I looked at it first, as it wasn’t from someone whose email address I recognized and it didn’t look like a spam address either.  When I opened it, it was a series of jokes (dirty jokes, to be exact, but that’s another thing) that made me laugh (I have a warped sense of humor.  What can I say?).  It came from Roy and was addressed to “John” and said something along the lines of “these are for you” and “I’ll see you soon”.  Ok, so I could tell something was being sent between friends and it wasn’t intended to be sent to me and that they were attempting anyway to set up time together.

“Ok, self,” I thought, “what would you want?”  Well, I’m good at having discussions with myself so I answered quite quickly and thought that if it were *me*, I would want the person in question to tell me that I sent it to the wrong place.

So I just sent back a quick email saying “I’m sorry, you sent this to the wrong person”, deleted the whole mess and went to sleep, not thinking much more of it.  My last name was not unique and many people have first names that start with “J”, so I’d encountered “accidental emails” before and I had responded, but I rarely heard back and, even when I did, it was just a “oops, sorry” and nothing more came of it (except for a few people that I kept as pen pals off and on through the years).

When I got up, however, and went back to my computer to process some of the business that I’d taken care of in LaLaLand, I found an email back from Roy, apologizing all over himself and hoping that he hadn’t offended me with the jokes.  It was a very nice email, so I thought … hey, what the heck, I’ll email back and let him know that he was fine and that I promised not to complain about spamming or harassment or anything.  He had stated that his friend’s wife had mistyped the email address and given mine instead, which is how it got sent incorrectly.

We started chatting back and forth.  He was about 4 years divorced and living in Portland, Maine, about as far from me as he could possibly be since I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He is younger than me and has no children.  He was working in the broadcasting industry.  I was a stay-at-home mom of 3 (1 deceased by then and 2 still living) with an at-home business and in the process of a collapsing marriage and divorce.  I didn’t expect or want anything.  He didn’t expect or want anything, having just broken off with a prior girlfriend.  We were the most unlikely match-up possible.  There is no way possible we’d have met under any normal circumstances.  It was “coincidence” that wasn’t “coincidence” since we don’t *BELIEVE* in “coincidence”.  (Yes, I have a grammar no-no there on purpose and used the same word … GASP … 3 times in one sentence.)  Anyway, we talked back-and-forth.  We supported each other’s failures and understood one another’s hurts.  We became friends online.

At the same time, my oldest son was in college in Vermont.  I mentioned to him that I’d be going out for a parents’ weekend in April.  He told me that it was only about 3 hours from where he lived and maybe he could meet us.  That seemed fine to me … I mean … was the big ol’ mean man from Maine gonna get me when I was at a college parents’ weekend with my then 20 year old son?  I found it pretty unlikely, even though my family and friends warned me about meeting some terrible stranger online and his family warned him about meeting some terrible California woman gone crazy.

And … we hit it off … he moved to California just 6 months after that … we figured we’d just remain good friends … no big deal … that’s all either of us wanted anyway … and if it worked out, fine and if it didn’t work out, well, no harm, no foul.

Guess what?  On this November 23, 2012 (yes, we picked that date for a reason … look at the date in the 6th paragraph), we’ll be married 5 years … and it’ll be 10 years from the date of answering an “accidental email”.

Nope.  We don’t believe in “coincidence”.  Neither of us.  Never have.  Never will.  There are plans out there bigger than us that change the course of lives.

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A 5-Ring-Life

Everyone has a blog nowadays so I felt … geez … what’s the matter with me?  *I* need a blog too.  Besides, anyone that truly knows me … or even those that only know me online or wherever … knows how much I like to write … and knows how cathartic it is to me when everything is going crazy. 

So why “5-Ring-Life”, you may ask?  My life tends to be crazy (but I think everyone thinks that too).  I think the things that happen to me, however, are things that people think … “can that really be true?”  I’ve said in the past that my life is like a circus … and I picked “Five Ring” as opposed to “Three Ring” because … between Roy (my wonderful hubby) and me … we have the circus ring called “Jill”, the circus ring from Jill’s prior life events, the circus ring called “Roy”, the circus ring from Roy’s prior life events, and then the circus ring called “JCRP” (Jill & Roy together).  I’ll just put it this way … as a friend told me once … Hollywood couldn’t make up the stuff that happens to us – even they would think that those life events are too “out there” to be really true.

So … Hollywood … take note … fact is ALWAYS stranger and more fantastic than fiction.  Also take note … if you want to use our “stories” for movies, books, etc … well, guess what?  Cash on the barrelhead is what works for us … quite seriously!!!

Check back in.  It may be irregular … but I’ll be here … I can guarantee that.

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