May 23, 2007

What's the difference between a novel and a book?

The Bitch is Back
Innernets, I have an announcement...... Monkey is up and swinging again! She's back in all her Pelted Glory regaling us with tales of her sister and BIL (Bunsen and Beaker) and her escapades as a single lawyerly type living in Southern California. Additionally, a new character has been added to her cast of thousands in the shadowy form of Lt. Hightower, a swarthy, ridiculously tall stranger I can't wait to hear more about. Go give her a big smooch! Meap!

A Novel Novel

I’m still really enjoying the Goodreads.com site! I appreciate having a place to keep track of the books I’ve read and the books I’d like to read. I had such a neat, organized list of reads that I was hoping to accomplish before the NewKid arriveth, but per usual, I keep getting sidetracked. Receiving over $100 in Border’s gift certs for my birthday did NOT help. I’m currently reading The Known World and Nurture the Nature (an awesome parenting book that encourages parents to buck all these silly mass parenting trends and just get a feel for your child instead). However, yesterday I read that A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini’s newest book has been released. The cheapskate in me usually hesitates to run out and buy a new book in hardback (I have my exceptions such as Sue Grafton), but Hosseini is worth it. I INHALED The Kite Runner and am reading equally stellar reviews of his newest. I simply can't wait for a library copy or the release in paperback. So, basically my “to-read” list at Goodreads is definitely an organic one at this point.

Comfortably Numb
At my last OB appointment, my doctor asked if I was interested in considering a natural birth this time – no drugs. {insert high-pitched squeal of maniacal laughter} She wasn’t pushy about it, but I did emphatically tell her that I really enjoyed Arun’s birth AFTER the epidural – it was such a cool, amazing, inspirational experience! Furthermore, I only pushed for 1.5 hours with him. Why mess with a good thing? What I didn’t tell her was my firm opinion that much like a tooth extraction or a Pink Floyd concert, some things are just better with drugs.

Birthin' Babies
While I'm on topic, never fear Gentle Reader, I will not subject you to NewKid's Birth Story. For Arun's birth, I provided an Cliff Note's version devoid of the Ick Factor and I solemnly swear to do the same with NewKid's story. Truthfully, if a blogger posts her own birth story, I skip to the end - I don't like to read them and certainly don't want to write them.

The Chosen One
A few months back, I personally invited a family member to attend a playgroup of mine. I told her about it in person and said that I would include her on the email list of events. I know this family member has been having a hard time staying home full-time with her child and I thought it would be nice to reach out to her. I emailed her, but never heard back from her. I mentioned it to my sister and she said that I would probably have to call her. What the fuck?? Telling her in person and via email wasn't enough??? Um no. I’m going to call bullshit on this one.

Obviously, there are folks out there who have real problems and even real depression. But, I am sick and tired of folks who clearly make bad choices crying foul on their lives. I make many references to my 20s as being incredibly unhappy for me - I probably don't point it out, but I am actually mocking myself when I make such references. Truthfully, much, if not most, of that unhappiness was due to a series of bad choices on my part – poor career decisions, inappropriate financial choices, and crappy relationships that I CHOSE to stay in even when the inevitable path leading to heartbreak was clear. Beginning when I was 29, I made some difficult decisions that in the long-term were better for me. I chose to leave a job that I loved, LOVED because I was being severely underpaid and the company was going down the tubes anyway. By leaving early, I had so many more job choices because I wasn't desperate and unemployed. I was able to raise my salary by over 30k and it was a good thing I left since the company ended up decompressing in the big Dot.Bomb fiasco anyway. I then worked at that job which ate my social life and my soul, but allowed me to get myself into a better financial situation. It was worth the short-term sacrifice. Around that time, I also decided to quit whining about my childhood and to just get over myself already and to MOVE ON. By the time I was 31, my life had done an About Face. Furthermore, if I hadn't conducted a total Attitude Adjustment on myself, the relationship with X would have probably gone nowhere. And hands down, he is one of the brightest spots in my life. I can't imagine what my life would be like without him in it.

So yeah – I had little sympathy for the family member who has done nothing to better her situation by looking into playgroups, going to the library, getting herself out of the house to even just go to a park. I am not happy staying home just because "I'm happy staying home". I enjoy staying home because I took some very specific actions to make sure that I didn't sit around the house and get depressed. I am a homebody and I KNOW that I have a tendency to hole up in my house. I also knew that would be a recipe for disaster so I forced myself to get involved in some activities. And I'm still working on it. For example, yesterday I didn't really feel like going to the zoo, but I forced myself to go. When I got back home, I felt SO rejuvenated by the exercise (which kicked my waddling ass since I have NO lung capacity right now). Also, Arun had a great day the rest of the day because he got out as well.

I am a firm believer that we have more control over our so-called “destiny” than many folks would like to pretend. “Poor me” was a great line of dialogue as delivered by Livia in the Sopranos, but usually doesn’t bear much truth in Real Life. Enough with the “I’m a victim." lines. Make some choices in a new direction and just be happy! I know I sound high n' mighty and dare I say "cynical"? However, I know very few people who have actual bad situations going on in their lives are permanent. Furthermore, the few people I know that do have actual BAD, heartbreaking situations are some of the most positive, Pay It Forward folks I know (food for thought, eh?) It's my firm belief that Happiness is primarily an Action, not a Situation.

17 comments:

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Awww, thanks for the shoutout.

Cagey said...

No problems. You know that I love ya more than my luggage, right? ;-)

I mean, not that I've watched Steel Magnolias so many times I've memorized the dialogue. NOT ME

Rozanne said...

"But, I am sick and tired of folks who clearly make bad choices crying foul on their lives."

You know, how *I* feel about that and the victim mentality. I am in 100% agreement with you on that.

Thanks for mentioning Goodreads again. I was just trying to remember what it was called. I need to sign myself up and start keeping track--there's no way I can store stuff in my brain anymore.

Cagey said...

Rozanne,
Actually, I was thinking a bit of your Toxic Friend when I wrote this. I think she is a classic case of someone who makes poor choices and then expects sympathy.

Goodreads is awesome and very easy to use and update. I am not out there on it all that much, so it's not even a time sucker - bonus. I do appreciate keeping track of my reads and have used it to recommend books to others when asked.

Brit said...

Lately I've been thinking about just cutting and pasting your blog into mine.* Would that be wrong? I mean it would save me so much time and work.

Of course my family reads my blog, but probably not yours (their loss) do to their inability to really 'grasp' the whole thing.

But anyway. Uh yeaH. Poor me. SO OVER IT. um your husband is a schmuck, yells at your in public (making everybody else uncomfortable) and says you have to be home by 8:30 cuz he can't sleep unless you are? It's 2007 Tell him to get over himself.

Your boyfriend cheats on you and then TELLs YOU ABOUT IT, you stay with him because he really loves you but can't help himself and you go to counseling (alone, not couples) because he says you have paranoia and anger issues? Dude.

Your husband wants you to homeschool your kids because 'everyone' is doing it but you don't have a highschool education and want to go back to work? Yeah

soooo sick of it all. Get off your butts and do stuff people.

I find I'm axing people out my life left and write, I consider it coming in to my own. I finally am happy and I'm so tired of the wah wwah poor me of it all...because I tend to find that ITS YOUR FAULT!! do something.

I'm a homebody too, I love snowdays because I can cancel playdates and other meetings with out feeling like a failure as a mother/as opposed to someone who wants to stay home and nest.

* I probably won't because the pregnancy parts will confuse my family.

Marilyn said...

You know, when I was in my twenties and staying at home with a baby all the time and feeling so incredibly cut off from everyone and everything, I probably would have thanked my lucky stars and kissed the feet of anyone who would have emailed me to invite me to a playgroup. SERIOUSLY. What the freak ever, people gotta help themselves, to some extent. Others can only do so much, you gotta carry the ball the rest of the way.

Cagey said...

Brit,
I've been trying to get better about cutting Toxic Friends out of my life. It's hard, though.

Marilyn,
The thing is, the playgroup is something that I started. I was attending my hospital's breastfeeding support group, liked some of the gals there and realized that we wouldn't be breastfeeding forever, so I needed to establish relationships sooner than later. I decided to ask if everyone would like to get together on alternate Wednesdays. I was SO scared and nervous about asking everyone because who likes to be rejected? Not me! From there, I started inviting others that I met along the line, like Bethiclaus. It's always, always hard to put yourself out there, but it beats the alternative of sitting home by yourself.

md macaca said...

I love this entry... really, really love it because it reminds me of my own attitude about my life. Until recently it felt like I had no control over things, when the reality is that I do. Regardless of all the whining that I do on my blog, I do believe that I have the power to make a change, and get on with life. And it's great to see someone else talk about that.

I also agree about the homebody issue. I'm naturally happier at home than out somewhere. However if I sat holed out forever, I'd get depressed out of my skull, so I try to get out... and like you, it's still a work in progress.

Goofy Girl said...

Yo! Your "The Chosen One" struck a chord with me. I'm not depressed about birthing a child, but rather about birthing (aka selling/renting/ditching) a rehab house. The damn thing won't go away and I've been feeling very down and victim-ish about it.

Your post helped me realize that the future is in my hands, not the frakking house's. Dammit!

Oh, and call me sick and twisted, but I wouldn't mind reading about a birthing story...since I won't be lucky enough to experience that firsthand.

Modern Day Hermit said...

Ok, first, I'm so psyched that Monkey is back! I tell you, I'd think about her and her blog quite a bit...in a totally non-stalker way, just to clarify ;).

Interested in doing natural child labor, eh? I tried the epi and the 10 minutes that it worked were the most glorious minutes of my existence, haha.

I could not agree more with your statements regarding the victim mentality. Life is what you make of it and I truly believe that happiness is a state of mind. Hell, I'm not Ms. Sunshine all the time but being pissed of and miserable is often a choice one makes for themselves and you can't depend on others to make yourself happy.

Goofy - I'm a sucker for stories that involve gore and details that some would consider gross, haha. I'm a little twisted myself, which could explain it. I'm in no way attempting to push one to tell stories they don't wish to share by any means, I just like to ramble ;).

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Sometimes I come to the "awesome book train" (like Blind Assasin) very very late. I just bought Kite Runner for my flight home this weekend. Along with Kitchen Confidential, The Stolen Child, Blink (I was going to buy The Stolen Child and then saw the 3 for 2 deal with books I couldn't resist)

I'm still making my way through Sophie's World which I highly highly recommend except the philosophy lessons can be a bit heavy and I really want to give them all due attention (heavens, I wish I'd had that class during Political Philosophy in undergrad and it's a freaking NOVEL). I figure I'll zone out much easier on the plane to something like Bourdain.

PS: lords, I HATE to fly. My life has to change soon (though I took a major step today!) because I canNOT do this "fly home every 5 to 6 weeks" shite anymore.

Heza Hekele said...

Indeed, Happiness is an action and not a situation.

Anna said...

Funny, I just had the "birth" conversation with my doctor this week, from the opposite perspective, i.e. epidural - let's try not to do THAT again. If I'd had your experience last time round, I'm sure I'd be all for it, but instead ended up having a c-section due to mal-positioning, subsequent incision infection, and breastfeeding problems.

I'm trying to stack the odds more in favour of avoiding all that by forgoing an epidural this time round, but I have to say I'm getting apprehensive as the time draws closer.

FYI, I just noticed the new book for discussion doesn't seem to be showing in the sidebar. When's the discussion date again?

Cagey said...

Anna,
Oh, it just cracked me up that she was just trying to talk me into going natural, which seemed silly since my experience last time around was so positive. Obviously, if I had your experience, my reaction would have been very different.

Also, I've updated the sidebar. Thanks for calling out my laziness! Yikes!

Anna said...

My last appointment, my doctor started the breastfeeding discussion with "Keep in mind any initial difficulties can usually be overcome". Um, look at my chart from last time, and you'll see if anyone would know that, it's me! Thank you, Dr. Obvious.

Thanks for updating the sidebar, I actually got it together to get the book this time, so if I'm not in labour, I'll be participating.

Lisa said...

You know I went through a "holy crap I'm stuck in this house!" thing. Mine lasted a bit longer because I was in the house due to alot of migraines. But yes, one does just need to put themselves up, (or suck it up) and get out there and at least TRY to make the best of things. So yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/books/05/28/bookburning.ap/index.html

Want some very cheap books?

(I think this guy is an asshole for burning them though)