Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Rights as My Husband's Wife

To have regular dates.
To not have to plan all of said dates.
To get presents on my birthday and at Christmas.
To be flattered occassionally.
To work.
To have hobbies.
To have time alone.
To have support when dealing with the children.
To be respected as a professional.
To be more important than work, the kids, or anything else, just as we vowed.
To have my husband want to be with me.
To be able to be affectionate without sex.
To have a well groomed husband when we are out as a couple.
To be able to spend money, below our agreed upon limit, without criticism.
To have girlfriend outings and someday girlfriend vacations without the kids.
To be listened to.
To have my family treated with respect.

My Rights as a Person

To be respected.
To have time to exercise.
To have time to relax/meditate.
To recreate and to have vacations.
To donate to charities in which I believe.
To have my own opinions.
To say no.
To say yes.
To chose my friends.
To have input on my work.
To influence my space through decoration and cleanliness.
To get enough sleep.
To ask others to stop behaving in ways that hurt me.
To ask for what I want.
To have the opportunity to explore what I want.
To throw parties.

Psychotherapy Homework

I had an intense session with my psychotherapist last night and came home with some writing assignments. She suggested holding off talking with the hubby too much about the letter as I seem to have too many issues and not a lot of clarity on what I want or need.

Assignment #1 - Make a list of my rights as a wife.
Assignment #2 - Make a list of my rights as a person.
Assignment #3 - Make a list of what my husband would have to do for me to feel valued.
Assignment #4 - Make a list of what my husband would have to do for me to feel loved.

It has become clear that I don't feel I have a right to ask people to treat me a certain way, that I have a belief that I have to accept them as they are and cannot ask them to do things for me. That I have to conform. That I have to accept. That I have to adapt.

Allowance Follow Up

No action taken yet on letting the kids make a withdrawal on their savings account . . . they seemed to have forgotten for now.

To answer a question, I started the kids' allowance when they were 5 and 3 years old. Since the 5 year old lost out on a couple years, I seeded her account with some extra money. At 3 years old, the money was often misplaced or lost in the house. The same to some extent at 5.

We have wallets for each kid and we ask that they keep them in the same spot each time they use them (typically near their backpacks). They've cycled through a few wallets per year as they are lost or lose interest in the design.

The can count money and understand the concept of delayed gratification. They can read dollar and cents and are just starting to grasp the concept of tax.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Hand Signal

You Are a Thumbs Up

Your life philosophy can be summed up as, "Tomorrow is another day."

Your greatest wish is for everyone to be content with what they have.

You are naturally content and optimistic. You encourage people to be happy.

Even if life isn't perfect, you believe that life is what you make of it!

Thanks for the idea Yertle!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Great Article About Happiness



Click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


We're on day 3 of the shock collar and have seen notable improvement. It's awesome!

I'm so excited about solving this problem and providing a good life for us and our new dog.

This weekend I join group training which will help even more!

Kids & Money

Like many parents, I give my kids an allowance. They are 6 and 7 years old and get one dollar per year of age per week. This translates to $6 and $7 per week respectivley.

Since this is a tidy sum (we had to add a line item for it in our household budget!) for little people, we have a general guideline:

- Deposit 1/2 your cash before Mom or Dad will take you to the store to buy something.

We call it the "pay yourself first" discipline similar to having money taken our of your paycheck for retirement or savings.

This is all fine and they each have more than $100 in their accounts, but we missed one point . . . when are they allowed to make a withdrawal?

One child has been asking to make a withdrawal for simply buying more of something he already has a lot of, Pokemon Trading Cards. I had imagined this money for bigger items like skateboards or the like, but I'm really confused on how to manage the withdrawals.

I've been stalling, but the kids are restless.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Letter Follow Up

After dropping the bombshell of a letter on my husband, he was very angry and became wrapped up in his work and pending deadline. He stayed up past midnight almost every night and pulled an all-nighter the night before we had a breakfast date to discuss the letter.

We have not faced this head on and I feel like he is hoping that time will make the issue subside, since he did just finish a deadline and thinks that he can refocus his energy now that it is complete. Of course, he used all his energy on the deadline and he is now ill.

I am still frustrated and angry, still feel used and disrespected. But I am trying to be empathetic and respectful. With persistence, we will face this and recraft our marriage.

Shock and Awe

The training with our new dog, Ollie, has been going very well. He is responsive to commands, interested in us, and better behaved around strangers.

He is also still dog aggressive, especially on the leash.

This translates to barking, growling and lunging (with all 60 pounds of his muscular body) at passing dogs. I am barely strong enough to control him and the other day I fell into a neighbor's yard as a result. My head fell just inches from a piece of rebar sticking out of the ground.

My husband's patience is just about used up as this dog is far more work than he imagined, so we had to come up with a plan.

With the guidance and support of our trainer, we got a shock collar. I know it sounds awful, but it is so much more humane than the pronged choke collar we are currenlty using to get his attention. The shock is enough to be uncomfrotable, but not painful. Today, we meet with the trainer on how to use it.

We will then take every opportunity to go into crowded places so that he is exposed to many dogs and learns that showing too much interest causes discomfort. Our trainer rescued a labrador with similar aggression and rehqabilitated the dog, so we have the best teacher, in my opinion.

We have about 8 weeks to make it through the process before we see the results.

Gratitude 8

I am grateful for:

- Seeing old college friends and their children, so precious.
- Sharing old photos with my kids as they prepare reports on their family.
- Our excited, enthusiastic, and optomistic new hire.
- The fact that one of my employees sang "Happy Birthday" to another at 6:30 this morning as they started their day.
- Comraderie among our staff.
- My boss being away on a 3 week vacation.
- My son liking 1st grade and being excited to go to school.
- My children saving their allowance for items and counting out change to buy their coveted item.
- Long walks with the dogs.
- My empoloyee's professionalism as she tries to prepare the agency for her eventual retirement.
- My dog trainer's wisdom, understanding and compassion, for me and our new dog.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have always considered myself to be a strong, independent woman. It wasn't until my therapist identified this recurring theme with putting others' opinions and needs above my own and creating situations which disappoint me that I realized I may have a problem with codependence. In trying to make others' happy, I seem to be making myself miserable.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Letter to My Husband

Dear Husband,

We have prided ourselves on creating an alternate reality in our marriage. In bucking the sexist notions of man and wife and creating our own dream. We did this without really talking about our expectations of one another.

I have spent many months thinking about our marriage and how we have arranged our lives, and I am not happy with our current arrangement.

I am no longer willing to support you financially.

We obviously have divergent views on your role as the parent who stays home. I do appreciate that you have stayed home. I do appreciate that our kids have had that time.

But I am no longer willing to continue this arrangement, and it is time for you to get a job.

We need to talk and come to an agreement about how we are to manage our family, both financially and otherwise.

Let's arrange for a sitter this weekend so that we can have a serious conversation about our needs and the next steps.

Rigid Notions About Marriage and Family

Divorce is not an option.

Divorced people are failures who cannot successfully manage relationships.

Family dinner is not negotiable.

Daycare after school means that you are delegating raising your kids to an institution.

Women can be the bread winner, cook, nurturer, etc.

Women have a responsibility to earn money.

If my husband is not happy, I am a failure as a wife.

We don't share our arguments with others, especially the children.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dear Eric

Dear Eric,

One week ago Saturday, you died. You were in the middle of a two week vacation, riding your Harley, and were killed by an oncoming car. The driver has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and your widow asked us to remember that his family has also suffered a tragedy.

Your widow did an amazing job at your funeral service. She was strong and kind. I wonder how it felt to lose someone so early in a marriage - you were only married 2 3/4 years. I wondered about your ex wife and how she is mourning your death. I wondered about your children watching their step mom deliver this important address to a standing room only crowd.

What struck me most was how little work seemed to play into your service. There was one picture of you at work. Your wife knew almost none of your coworkers. Yet this is where you spent 40 hours a week. You were an ass at work. You were opinionated and stubborn. Your boss felt you bordered on insubordination, your coworkers didn't think you were a team player. Your main coworker was out for weeks after a bike accident and you didn't seem to to care nor ask him how he was when he returned, yet he cried the hardest when we lost you.

Is work for not? Is it really so unimportant that it doesn't deserve mention at a funeral? Is my energy at work to be a good boss and to serve others a waste of time? Is it really just a paycheck?

You so frustrated one employee that he was applying for other jobs. Now I get to meet with him and my boss tomorrow. He's the boss' favorite, but I suspect you knew that. Although he caused us to violate an environmental standard and "lose" a $1,000 piece of equipment, he is still the boss' favorite. Yeah, it pisses me off too. Is that why you were an ass to him? Did you see injustice, or were you just critical?

The minister asked us several times, "What are you going to do with what he gave you?" and I couldn't help but think about how religious you were and how religious the funeral was. I saw the Black Sheep, the Harley Davidson riders for Jesus, I heard all the Bible quotes, but I still can't believe.

I am spiritual and I agree that there are so many things more powerful and important than me. But no God, no manly God with his manly son, Jesus. No one to forgive me, but myself. No one to guide me, but myself.

I saw too many religious people in my life who hid behind their religion as a balance to their evil towards others, and yes, Eric, I hold you in this category.

Many people praised how kind you were to strangers and acquaintances, but how about to your coworkers? How about to those closest to you?

I will miss you. I admired your work and individuality. I admired that you spoke your mind, even if I didn't agree. I admired that you took pride in your work.

I wish you peace and I wish your family peace in your passing.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


I've let myself get caught up in the "shoulds" of life and am running myself a little ragged.

It doesn't help, or maybe it is caused by, the fact that my husband is out of town on a boys' canoeing trip for 4 days.

Here's the lowdown of the last 2 days:
- Breakfast with girlfriends on my Friday day off - very important, wouldn't have missed it for the world. Discussed adultery and the talk got a little scary, but all in all excellent.
- Dog training session - very important and very helpful. Am learning that I'm not escalating fast enough and being abrupt/harsh/shocking enough in my corrections to get my point across. Realized that I'm afraid strangers will think I'm abusive. Am being fraught and uncomfortable with how much this seems to mirror child discipline issues.
- Meeting with PTA prez to discuss event (evening dinner and supply donation event) for which I am responsible. Got checklist of action items and feel mostly in control, but a little worried since I've never done anything with the PTA before and don't want to screw up this event.
- Babysat from 5 until 9:15, which I thought was supposed to be 8:30, but I must have gotten my wires crossed. At 9:00 I started to worry, at 9:10 I told the little girl (3 years old) to go to bed with Torger with the plan of calling to see if everything was okay, at 9:15 the mom showed up with no explanation, which seemed odd, but mostly I was relieved to just go to bed having been awake since 4:30 am.
- Drove kids and dogs to off leash park to get them exercise before a day in the house. All went well.
- Drove 2 hours to parents', spent 7 hours in pool and in various activities, drove 2 hours home. Time with dad is precious and I try to make sure we enjoy it. My daughter complained initially about going and I simply informed her that at her age, I had no grandparents and she is lucky to have so many people who love her, that I love her grandpa and stepgrandma and we were going to share a day with them - end of discussion. Well, actually, she proceeded to say she just needed me, dad, and brother, and that's when I told her we were going, end of discussion.
- Poured glass of wine and proceeded to blog . . .

P.S. - Didn't feel dizzy with headstand, but then again wasn't in it for long.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I did it! I finally did it!!

I needed the help of a wall, and guidance from my teacher, but it was great. I was laughing with joy.

Not that yoga is competitive . . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Myriad of Emotions

I feel a little overwhelmed lately and just on the verge of out of control. At first I got angry at myself for this, thinking I wasn't breathing deeply or taking care of my stress. But now, I'm being more forgiving. As I made this list in my mind, I understood the why and forgave my inability to erase the stress and other emotions:

- One of our employees was killed on Saturday. He was on vacation on a motorcycle trip - he had an accident and was killed instantly. He worked for us for 16 years and one of our senior employees in rank.

- My single dad brother just lost his job and wants us to drop everything and travel to Seattle with him since now his schedule is free. Family visits seem to revolve around his schedule, which makes me resentful. Then I feel guilty for not having more compassion for his situation.

- I'm pretty sure my new dog has dog agression. He's getting better on the leash, but still loses it when we pass other dogs, especially little dogs. He's 60 pounds of muscle - I can hold him back, but it takes a lot. The owners walk nervously and quickly away from me out of fear, and I'm left trying to control Ollie and getting angry, embarrassed and frustrated. Not sure how this one is going to get solved.

- The kids went back to school. Halfway to school, they told my husband (I was at work, feeling guilty for not being there, but knowing I couldn't show up too late the day after an employee died - I was needed at work - I stayed home long enough to help get the kids ready, pack their lunches and get photos) to go home and they walked to school by themselves. They're in 1st and 3rd grade and growing up way too fast!

But I'm alive and employed, married with healthy kids, so I am grateful for that.