About this Blog

About this Blog: Divorce is something you do, not something you are. It is not easy, but it can be funny. I know hanging on to my humor gave me hope and courage. Divorce shouldn't cramp your style. There are whole industries devoted to helping brides plan their weddings -- why shouldn't we have a style guide for divorce?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Read Right for Your Blood Type!

The lists in the next few posts on this blog are offered as general resources for self-education, and are not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. (Truly, cross-posted from "H is for Hamlet," my other shameless self-promotional).

Good literature may be useful in correcting serious problems of temperment due to misbalanced humours.

Therapy consists of liberal and concentrated application of subsequent chapters of an appropriate supportive (to correct a deficiency) or opposite (to mitigate an excess) novel or anthology.

However, when consumed outside of the appropriate critical context, the content or philosophy of some works may be disturbing.

Therefore, for a most effective cure, readings should be advised only by a certified graduate of a small, preferably midwestern, liberal arts college.

Moreover, if access to recognized works of literature is limited, readers should be cautioned that popular fiction should under no circumstances be substituted in equal amounts, as there are no established minimum standards for literate content in such work. 

Similarly, the use of foreign language literature may result in serious side-effects, such as the promotion of socialist economic theory.

Periodical literature or professional journal subscriptions may in some cases make an acceptable alternative treatment, again, check with your B.A. to be sure.

Katie Kilbridge, B.A.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Oxygen Mask

Ma'am?  Ma'am. . . MA'AM, please.  This is me, talking to you.  Up here at the top of the aisle.  Wearing the flight attendant getup.  Look over here.  See me now?  Right.  Making the safety speech.  Pay attention, this is important.  No, not the pointy gestures toward the exits.  Not the buckle-y strap part.  Right now.  The part that goes "in the event of a loss of pressure in the cabin."

In the event of a loss of pressure in the cabin your oxygen mask will miraculously fall down from the ceiling into your lap.  And if you are sitting next to a small child, then MA'AM, this is the part I wanted you to listen to.

PUT YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST.  [ahem].  FIRST.  I'm going to say it again now.  OXYGEN MASK.  YOU.  FIRST. 

Before taking care of someone else take care of yourself.  Harder to do than you think, huh? 

You're out there, trying to figure out which bills to pay, and maybe you're even freaked out because even though your mother told you to be responsible about money, you're thinking way too far ahead and you're worried about college savings for a six-year old.  And because of that, you're throwing out the registration form for the class you have been wanting to take for a couple of years now, the one you need to take so you can meet the people you need to meet to get the job you want.  Or you're thinking about settling for the next [job, man, apartment] you find instead of taking the first job opportunity that comes along, just to have something, something for them, instead of getting the good one that you really deserve.

Try not to panic.  Put your own mask on first.  Do that five minute meditation you've keep thinking you "should" do.  Get your hair done.  Hire some cleaning help.  Take that lunch meeting.  The kids can do without.  In fact, they will turn out fine, or even better, because you'll be able to take care of them.  Solid.  Oxygen filled.  Put your mask on first.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Second Mile

A couple of weeks ago I made it to the gym, so good for me.  I can go on the treadmill for 4-5 miles if there is something good on the TV monitor, and I can actually do a not totally crappy 10k if I am trying hard.  But that night my head was not into it and after about a mile (11 minutes, but who's counting), I started to wheeze, so I stopped.

Now generally that is a fairly common occurrence for me.  After about a mile or so two things happen:  first, I get bored, and start telling myself to just stop, because this is stupid, and you're not having a good time anyway, and you're slow, and it's not as if it's going to make a difference in your figure, and you have a lot of other work to do that is more important.  Second, my body starts to cramp up, and I start hearing these noises as if the treadmill needs maintenance, except then I realize that it's my lungs.  I get a tightness across my shoulders, and I feel my chest stop expanding right about at my armpits.  My mind picks up on the physical issues, and gets all excited:  see, you're not well, you'd better stop before you hurt yourself, it's not safe to stress yourself beyond your limits like this.

Normally, I come prepared.  An energetic song begins on my ipod, and distracts my brain.  The "ooh!  I love this song" part takes over for a few minutes, and then a few more.  During that time, my hamstrings stretch, my chest warms up, and I stop wheezing.  The most important part seems to be to stifle the critical, neurotic part of my brain until I'm relaxed and having fun.

But the other day, this did not happen.  I got more and more discouraged as the seconds passed.  I was not able to talk myself out of slowing down, walking, and then pretty much just stepping off in disgust.  I hadn't even broken a sweat and I did not care.

Why is that?  Why is the second mile so hard?  And I say this thinking of that feeling you get sometime after you pass the one-year mark of your divorce.  When you expect it to be more of a breeze, except it's not.  Right about the time people stop cutting you some slack, because it's been a year already, I mean, really.  You shouldn't you be able to handle [fill in the blank] event now (holiday, anniversary, tax returns) that you've done it once already.

But that's precisely why it is so hard to start that second lap - this time it's all you.  There's no momentum spurring you on like there was when you started.  During the first year, all you had to do was make it to the end.  When you arrived, ta daah!  Good for you!  But this second time around - in case you hadn't figured it out it's the first year all over again with just a slightly different date on every check you write.  All your cheering fans are attending to somebody else's crisis.  Here I am, starting the second year of moving back to town where TGIUTBMT still lives, and certain days are so surprisingly hard.  Sometimes all I can hear is the skepticism inside my own head, and I think, where's the deafening silence when I need it?

Distraction, as I mentioned, has been the key for me (but not drinking to distraction.  Tried it.  Doesn't work).  It's that ipod song that keeps me going for a few minutes until the doubt passes.  It's that pottery class I pre-paid for, or that women's event I agreed to bring the spinach dip for.  Something external to myself that I can blame for keeping me moving instead of letting me sit in my rut.  A few of these, and then a few more, and at some point when I check in with myself, I find that I'm moving through that second year, looking forward, not minding the effort.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Downside of Divorce

I missed my sister in law today.  The last time I saw her, the kids were little, and we were all worried about how she'd manage when the Reserves sent her husband back to Afghanistan for another tour.  That was sometime in 2004.

I liked her, and I liked the whole gang, and going to soccer games, and talking about ways to keep on top of the clutter of toys, and just winging it, because what else are you going to do when you are a family.

And that idiot man I used to be married put a barrier up during the stupid divorce, and now I haven't seen her in forever, and one of the kids is out of college now, and married I think.  Because there's some kind of rule that even though they probably liked you better than their own kin, now they can't talk to you, or remember that they liked you better, or send you a damn Christmas card.

I know some inlaws we're grateful to ditch, so fair warning about the Fates:  they'll stick you with the ones you don't want, and take away the ones you like.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three's a Bitch

I am happy to present the last installment in my series of subversive needlepoint tea towels (part 1 is here, and part 2 is here).  If you haven't ever seen Julie Jackson's "Subversive Cross Stitch" book, visit her website for a refreshing and shocking taken on a demure craft.

Collect the Entire Set!
The goal here was to use up some embroidery floss that was lying around, thanks to one of Purl's abandoned friendship bracelet projects, which was too good to waste.  I wanted to re-master the french knot, which had stumped me when making the second towel, and I wanted a short and sweet message that captured my "so over you" sentiment without being extraordinarily bitter.  (a little to medium amount of bitter was apparently okay -- think about the taste of the second martini, and how mouthy one gets afterwards).

I mulled it all over, and over, and more.  I tried to think, if it was time to say the very last thing to him that I would ever say, forever, what would it be.  Something funny?  Something cruel?  What's the phrase one uses to shrug one's shoulders and say nothing because seeing him, not seeing him, it just doesn't register anything at all?  I thought for a while about 'Who are you?' but then I realized that I needed to consider the audience.  Despite how I may feel or whatever it is I want to say, part of the project is the effect on the person who sees the stitching.  They shouldn't have to know anything about you or him to get it and to have it bring out a knowing smile.

Eventually, the idea surfaced that what I needed to say was something about me.  Who I am, and how great it is to be me.  How great it is to be me, without you, for better or for worse.  Not only better off, but still essentially the same I was before.  Marrying you didn't change who I am, so leaving you didn't either.  Still here, still a bitch.  Beautiful.

There's a trick to the french knot that I will probably always have to check on-line - the thread has to be wrapped from the end of the needle to the point, but I was happy that this time it worked.  The scroll-like detail is called a "volute" from Ionic Greek architecture.

Now that these projects are done, I can get back to my beaded knitting, and some repairs to an antique Sunbonnet Sue quilt.  Not your most exciting Friday night, I know, but completing these always feels like real progress.